Haley Barbour: Health care reform like Jonestown

Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.), chairman of the Republican Governors Association, called the Democrats’ health care reform proposal “catastrophic” Thursday and compared it to the poison ingested at the infamous Jonestown cult’s mass suicide in 1978.

At a press conference, flanked by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Barbour said that if the Senate passes the health care reform bill, it would result in huge electoral gains for the GOP in 2010.

“This is such bad policy for the United States, and it’s going to be so bad for our health care system,” the Mississippi governor said. “It’s going to make health insurance premiums go up. It’s going to cut Medicare by about $500 billion. Huge state tax increases. It is catastrophic for small business. But if the Democrats wanna do something to help Republicans, I can’t improve on this.

“I’ve been looking for Jim Jones and where’s the Kool-Aid. This is awful, awful policy for our country — and the people know it. The public already understands this. And the longer the debate goes on, the more the public understands that they’re going to end up paying more and that they’re going to get lower quality health care. But politically, if the nation can survive it, it will be a political windfall for Republicans.”