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GOP governors criticize Sen. health bill

From NBC's Mark Murray
CEDAR CREEK, Tex. -- More than a dozen Republican governors held a press conference at the Republican Governors Association meeting here outside of Austin, TX, to argue that both the House and Senate healthcare bills would end up shifting costs to the states -- negatively impacting their budgets.

South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds (R) explained that one of the tools congressional Democrats have adopted to cover uninsured Americans is by expanding Medicaid, which the states help finance. Yet Rounds said that expanding Medicaid in his state would cost $33 million a year.

"I can't afford that," he said.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) also contended that the legislation would only add to their budget shortfalls in this economic climate.

"This bill [the Senate] is debating is going to make it worse," Perry said. "That is an inarguable fact. ... It will be devastating. I don't think there's any other way to describe it."

Said Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), the chairman of the RGA: "Sen. Reid's bill, like the House bill, guts Medicare and is a huge cost shift that will be borne by the states."

And Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) argued that both House and Senate health-care bills were "fraudulent" in disguising the true costs of the legislation -- for example, by not including the so-called "doctors fix" that would increase the Medicare payments for doctors.

"We all know a sucker play when we see one," he said.