Barbour: Govs. deserve role in health care debate

WASHINGTON — At least some governors should be present when White House officials and congressional lawmakers meet this week to discuss health care reform, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said Monday.

“They’re asking us to pay for part of it,” Barbour said of Congress. “It would be useful if some governors were there.”

The White House health-care summit, scheduled for Thursday, will focus on proposals President Barack Obama unveiled Monday and on stalled legislation in Congress.

Health-care reform topped the agenda at the winter meeting of the National Governors Association last weekend and was a key part of the discussion when governors met with Obama on Monday at the White House.

Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, described the meeting as “very cordial,” and said Democrats and Republicans agreed on some issues.