Bondi in Wall Street Journal: More states will follow Florida in suing the feds over health care law

Dean's comments aren't the first time he's expressed them on the cable news network that now goes by the adage of "moving forward." Over the summer, he said the same thing to Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie:

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.

(and later in the discussion)

Guthrie: You don't think that unravels the whole bill?

Dean: Absolutely not. You do not -- the only people that really benefit from the mandate are the insurance companies. I know from personal experience, 18 years ago we did this in my state and it still works just fine. We didn't have big rate increases. We had a few fly by night insurance companies leave because we were so tough on them, but our insurance market works as well as anybody else's.

Now the important thing for supporters of the health care bill to note is whether the legislation can survive without the individual mandate.  The insurance companies may no longer say want to play if the rules are changed on them, and President Obama's crew has never cottoned frankly to much advise from Dr. Dean.

But you don't have to be that smart to realize that if the Florida lawsuit ends up going to the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately, would anyone be shocked if the Roberts court bought the arguments made by Bondi and company that the mandate provision is unconstitutional?  It's something that Obama and those who support the law may need to start seriously contemplating.

On Pam Bondi's first full day in office, the new Attorney General in Florida has written an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on the topic that she brought the most passion to during her campaign - picking up the mantle from Bill McCollum on leading the fight against the individual mandate provision written into the health care reform bill that President Obama signed last spring.

Bondi writes that so many newly elected officials owe in part their victory to their opposition to what critics call "ObamaCare." After delivering some of the sordid history that has been referred to as the "sausage making" of the legislation (including invoking the "Cornhusker kickback" named in honor of the attempt to appease Nebraska's wavering Ben Nelson), the Attorney General then describes what's happened in the courts, before concluding with this passage:

As new state attorneys general take office in the coming week, I fully expect an increase in the ranks of the states fighting ObamaCare in court. Our lawsuit, together with a similar lawsuit filed by Virginia's attorney general, has exposed the health-care law's threat to individual liberty and to the constitutional structure that the Founders designed as a means of protecting that liberty. The stakes are clear and compelling: If the courts deem the federal health-care law to be constitutional, then there are no meaningful constitutional restraints on Congress's power to regulate virtually every facet of our lives.

This morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe, former Vermont Governor and a sometimes critic of President Obama from the left, Howard Dean, said he believed that the individual mandate not make it through the court system, and he said that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.  It should be noted that the individual mandate is by far the most unpopular part of the health care law, and has brought such ideological opponents as Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann together in denouncing it.

Advocates for that mandate have insisted that having everyone buy into the program is the only way that will make it feasible for insurance companies to now accept patients with pre-existing conditions, by far the most popular part of the new law.  But Dean said today that when he provided universal coverage for children in his state, he did not do so with an individual mandate.

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