The unpopular individual mandate that's part of Obamacare was unnecessary to the program's overall success, and it's going to hurt Democrats in next year's midterm elections, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told CNBC on Monday.
"Insurance companies like it because it does bring young, healthy people who aren't likely to get sick into the system," the former Vermont governor said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "But our experience here—although it's with young people under 18, not with everybody—is that the individual mandate was not that necessary."
He added, "The actuarial data does not lead to the conclusion that you're going to have huge cost overruns" without it.
Dean did acknowledge that Obamacare will hurt Democrats at the polls in November, because "people don't like to be told what to do by the government no matter what party they're in."
Republican strategist Joe Watkins, who served as an aide to George H.W. Bush, agreed with his Democratic counterpart: "It's the federal mandate. Americans are not happy."
"If we have our way in 2014, the Affordable Care Act is going to end up being the gift that just keeps on giving," he said—adding that as a result, Republicans could pick up four to six Senate seats and as many as 50 House seats.