Howard Dean: Obamacare Mandate Not Needed, Has Hurt President

Tuesday, 31 Dec 2013 05:12 AM

By Cathy Burke

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Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean says the Obamacare mandate that all Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine is not only unpopular — it's totally unnecessary.

Dean told CNBC Monday that the number of young, healthy people signing up for President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, broadening the risk pool for everyone buying their insurance in the Obamacare insurance marketplace, "doesn't really matter that much," the Washington Times reported.

"This is about the individual mandate," the former Vermont governor and onetime presidential candidate said. "The individual mandate was not necessary, and it's probably a big political thing, and that is going to hurt the Democrats because people don't like to be told what to do by the government no matter what party they're in."

"But the truth is, that wasn't necessary, and the insurance companies like it because it does bring young, healthy people who aren't likely to get sick into the system," he said.

A recent poll showed that a majority of Americans don't like the individual mandate. The Rasmussen poll, released Dec. 17, shows that 58 percent of those surveyed opposed the requirement.

Dean argued as much more than a year ago, warning, prophetically, that the mandate would hurt the president.

As the Supreme Court of the United States was deliberating the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, Dean said it wouldn't matter even if the high court struck down the mandate.

"The mandate is something that's not really necessary, first of all," Dean told Fox News Sunday on April 1, 2012. "If the justices strike it down, it might actually help the president, because the people don't like the mandate. But if the rest of the bill stays intact, I think it will ultimately be seen as a victory for the president."

The Supreme Court in June 2012 upheld the 2010 law.

On Monday, Dean said that for young people under 18 in Vermont, "the individual mandate is really not that necessary, and the actual data does not lead to the conclusion that you're going to have huge cost overruns for the insurance companies."

Still, Dean is now predicting the law itself will eventually work.

"I think there are going to be some more bumps, but I do think ultimately this is going to get better, not worse," he said. "We're not out of the woods, but I think by March we will be, and a lot more people will have insurance."

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