Howard Dean Claims Unpopular ObamaCare Mandate Could be Ruled Unconstitutional
The Daily Rundown conversation begins with Chuck Todd discussing the Proposition C landslide in Missouri:
CHUCK TODD: In Missouri this week there was referendum on the ballot. Non-binding but it was, frankly, the legislature didn't want to deal with the issue of healthcare and this mandate and about whether the state should challenge the mandate on the new healthcare plan. It got 71%. Yes, more Republicans turned out than Democrats. But 71% in Missouri, that has to make Democrats nervous, particularly in that Senate race. Robin Carnahan has got an uphill battle.
HOWARD DEAN: She does have an uphill battle. She's a great human being and a great person and I hope that she's going to win that one. I think she can but the truth is the mandate is not essential to the plan anyway and never was essential to the plan. They did it in Massachusetts and had a mandate but we had universal healthcare for kids in my state without a mandate.
At this point, a clearly surprised Savannah Guthrie steps in.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: But wait, how can you say the mandate isn't essential? The way we always had it explained to us by folks at the White House is that if you want to do anything about pre-existing conditions you got to get everybody into the game. That without the mandate you can't require insurance companies to stop prohibiting...
DEAN: We did. We did it 20 years ago in my state. We did it 20 years ago in my state.
TODD: Without a mandate?
DEAN: Without a mandate.
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 just passed...you can't charge more than 20% above the basic rate and the Senate is 300% based on age. The fact of the matter is I thought that the President was right in the campaign. Academically you want a mandate. The American people aren't going to put up with a mandate. And I've made this prediction before and I am going to make it again, by the time this 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 2 or 3 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.
TODD: So you expect them to drop the mandate?
DEAN: Well, the courts may rule it unconstitutional.
So it isn't only conservatives who think the ObamaCare mandate is not only unpopular but may be ruled unconstitutional as well. Count Howard Dean among the growing ranks of those who have the same belief. Which is why Todd and Guthrie were so surprised.