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Romney Aide Defends Mass. Health Law Against Huckabee Attacks

Romney Aide Defends Mass. Health Law Against Huckabee Attacks

By Alex Katz - February 25, 2011

An aide for Mitt Romney on Thursday said the former Massachusetts governor is "proud" of the health care plan enacted in the state while he was governor, dismissing calls from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to admit that the program failed.

"Mitt Romney is proud of what he accomplished for Massachusetts in getting everyone covered," Romney spokesman Eric Ferhnstrom told the Boston Globe in response to Huckabee. "What's important now is to return to the states the power to determine their own healthcare solutions by repealing ObamaCare. A one-size-fits-all plan for the entire nation just doesn't work."

Huckabee, who is on tour to promote his latest book, said Wednesday that his potential White House rival should admit the statewide health care overhaul didn't work and continued in his attempts to closely associate Romney's health care plan with President Obama's national health care reform package.

In his new book, "A Simple Government," Huckabee attempts to highlight a link between the two.

"Ever since the debate over [the national] program began, it's been compared to RomneyCare, the failed statewide health-care program implemented by none other than my fellow GOP member Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts," Huckabee writes.

"Any critical assessment of this program will show that it failed...and yet the Obama administration decided to emulate it in its pursuit of a national health-care program."

Despite the similarities between the two, chief among them the coverage requirement that provides for those without insurance to be fined, Romney has been trying to distance his plan from ObamaCare as he mulls a likely second White House bid on the Republican ticket.

He maintains that his plan was successful in Massachusetts but should not be applied at the national level, criticizing the president's plan for being an unconstitutional infringement on states' rights.

Huckabee contends that Romney cannot have it both ways.

"The position he should take is to say: ‘Look, the reason ObamaCare won't work is because we've tried it at the state level and we know it won't work," Huckabee told the Associated Press.

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