The Washington Times - December 30, 2013, 08:41AM

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Monday that the mandate in President Obama’s health care law stipulating that virtually all Americans must buy health insurance or pay a fine wasn’t necessary.

Mr. Dean said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that the number of younger, healthier people enrolling in Obamacare — who will theoretically broaden the risk pool of those in the insurance marketplace — “doesn’t really matter that much.”

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“This is about the individual mandate,” he 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 continued.

Mr. Dean, a onetime presidential candidate and the former governor of Vermont, said that for young people under 18 in his state “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.”

Overall, though, Mr. Dean predicted 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.”