Howard Dean said Monday that the healthcare law didn’t need to include the individual mandate to work and warned it would end up hurting Democrats in the next election.
“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,” Dean said on CNBC.
The former Democratic presidential candidate acknowledged that the mandate was an incentive for young and healthy consumers to participate in the markets but said the law could survive without it.
“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,” Dean said.
Insurance industry officials have argued that the mandate is necessary to ensure premium collections are sufficient to cover claims. They also say the mandate is needed to keep premiums steady by achieving the right balance of high-risk consumers and young, healthy consumers.
The Obama administration announced over the weekend that nearly 1 million people enrolled for insurance through HealthCare.gov in December alone, bringing the total to 1.1 million.
Some experts estimate that an additional 1 million have enrolled through the 14 states running their own exchanges. The administration hopes to have 7 million enrollees by the end of the 2014 open enrollment period in March.
“I think there are going to be some more bumps, but I do think ultimately this is going to get better, not worse,” Dean continued. “We’re not out of the woods, but I think by March, we will be, and a lot more people will have insurance.”