Democrat National Committee Chairman Howard Dean was never fond of the individual health insurance mandate (i.e. corporate welfare) and has predicted that it will be eliminated by 2014; when much of the recently passed (and poorly understood) health reform package, including the individual mandate, is set to be implemented. As he put it:
“The truth is the mandate’s not essential to the plan anyway. It never was essential 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… 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.”
Dean is partially right. He supported the public option, which is in many ways is similar to what they did in Massachusetts. While Massachusetts doesn’t officially have a public option, it did significantly expand Medicaid, which acts as a pseudo-public option for some people. Indeed, a recent article in Boston.com noted that “Since April 1… the owners of about 90 small companies terminated their insurance plans with Braintree-based broker Jeff Rich and indicated in a follow-up survey that they were relying on publicly-funded insurance for their employees.” Prices have also skyrocketed making the health reform in Massachusetts a dismal failure. So Dean is wrong about the public option. And then of course, there’s this:
Never gets old does it? Regardless, Dean is right about the individual mandate; it is unpopular and it should be. Obama is now trying to defend it in the courts under the taxing power of Congress, even though he denied it was a tax for over a year! And according to Rassmussen, 60% favor a repeal of Obamacare, despite the Obama administration spending $700,000 on an ad campaign starring Andy Griffith (taxpayer financed of course) to “correct the record” after the bill had already been passed.
And more will likely join the chorus of repeal if the mandate is ever officially introduced. An increase in the demand for health insurance-as every economist knows-will increase prices. Any subsidies to manage those costs will increase taxes (and increase prices some more). If people really understood economics, there’s no way they would support the mandate (and if Supreme Court understands the Constitution, there’s no way they’ll rule it constitutional). So it’s certainly nice to see some high up opposition to this nonsense coming from the Democratic party.
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