Mitt Romney is defending his approach to health care in Massachusetts, saying he's proud that he took on a major problem in his home state.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked the former Massachusetts governor about the ties between the Massachusetts plan and the health care program pushed by President Barack Obama.

Romney says the Massachusetts plan tried to cover 8 percent of people in his state who lacked care while the federal health care law "takes over health care for everyone."

Romney says he would repeal the plan.

The Massachusetts plan includes a requirement for residents to purchase coverage, a forerunner of the "individual mandate" that conservatives oppose in the new federal law.

The comments were made during the Bloomberg-Washington Post presidential primary debate held at Dartmouth College.