technically true, that with the mandate reinvented as a tax, the Republicans have a genuine shot at repealing it through reconciliation. But that won't happen.
The purpose of the mandate is to protect insurance companies. The free rider problem is real. If we can wait to get insurance until we need expensive care, pay the same premium as a healthy person, then drop coverage the second our care is complete, health insurance companies will go out of business. Leaving aside for the moment that very few voters or contributors that the Republican Party cares about will actually be affected by the mandate, they are not going to take an action that would outrage every health insurance company in the nation.