Former Democratic Vermont Gov. Howard Dean on Wednesday praised the White House's decision to delay by one year the enforcement of a rule that requires larger employees to provide health insurance for their workers. It is a key provision of President Barack Obama's health-care reform law.
"I think this is a good thing," he said on CNBC's "Squawk Box," because he prefers fewer mandates and the delay will help the Obama administration "get their house into order" to implement a very large and complex system.
In addition, Dean said, "What I think will happen, the unintended consequences for everybody ... is more people will migrate out of employer-based health insurance, into the exchanges." That refers to the planned government-run online marketplaces designed to help people buy health insurance from private health care providers.
(Read More: Crucial Rule Is Delayed for Obama's Health-Care Law)
He said migrating to insurance exchanges is good in the long run because "I've always believed that you've got to divorce employment from health insurance in this country for a large number of reasons."
Dean argued that because health care has gotten "so expensive over so long—three times the rate of inflation for nearly 30 consecutive years—employers are either cutting back or reducing benefits or not giving health insurance at all,"
A long-term move away from employer-funded health care would help reduce costs and "get the monkey off the back of the business community."
Large employers will probably continue to offer health insurance "for a while," Dean predicted, because the benefit helps attract and retain employees. Health insurance gives a big employer a "competitive advantage getting the kind of employees they want," he said.