Former DNC chair Howard Dean, long an opponent of the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, predicted that the Obamacare provision will not survive judicial or popular scrutiny:
Dean: [T]he truth is the mandate’s not essential to the plan anyway. It never was esential to the plan. They did it in Massachusetts and had a mandate, but we have universal health care for kids in my state without a mandate.
Savannah Guthrie: How can you say that? the way it’s explained to us by the White House if you do anything about preexisting conditions, you got to get everybody into the game. Without the mandate, you can’t require insurance companies to stop prohibiting — Dean: We did in my state. We did it 20 years ago in my state.
Chuck Todd: How did you do it?
Dean: We just said all comers will have to get insurance and you can’t charge — this is why our bill is so much better than what they passed — you can’t charge more than 20 percent above the basic rate; in the Senate it’s 300 percent, based on age. The fact of the matter is that I thought the president was right in the campaign. Academically you want a mandate. The American people aren’t going to put up with a mandate. I made this prediction before and I’m going to make it again: by the time this thing goes into effect in 2014, I think the mandate will be gone either through the courts or because it’s unpopular. You don’t need it. There will be two or three percent of the people who cheat. That is not enough to bring the system to a halt and people don’t like to be told what to do.
Via Sam Stein.