With Health Care, "Free" Isn’t Free

Mar 14, 2012

ABC News reports that the Democratic Party is mailing flyers to millions of women touting the benefits of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA):

“You may now get many of your preventive care services for FREE,” reads one DNC flyer in big bold lettering. “Without co-pays, thanks to America’s New Health Care Law,” it adds in highlighted text.

Free? Really? One response comes to mind with this propaganda: TANSTAAFL. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

Despite the administration's assertions - there is no “free” health care. Someone has to pay for these services: either the employer through higher insurance premiums due to mandated coverage; or taxpayers through subsidized health insurance exchanges created by the PPACA.

And speaking of taxpayers, a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on the costs of the PPACA came out yesterday. It found that the estimated costs of the PPACA have almost doubled.

Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner writes:

President Obama's national health care law will cost $1.76 trillion over a decade, according to a new projection released today by the Congressional Budget Office, rather than the $940 billion forecast when it was signed into law.

[T]he CBO released new projections from 2013 extending through 2022, and the results are as critics expected: the ten-year cost of the law's core provisions to expand health insurance coverage has now ballooned to $1.76 trillion. That's because we now have estimates for Obamacare's first nine years of full implementation, rather than the mere six when it was signed into law. Only next year will we get a true ten-year cost estimate, if the law isn't overturned by the Supreme Court or repealed by then. Given that in 2022, the last year available, the gross cost of the coverage expansions are $265 billion, we're likely looking at about $2 trillion over the first decade, or more than double what Obama advertised.

We’re only at the beginning of implementation of the PPACA. Many regulations have to be written, including the establishment of “Essential Health Benefits” that insurance policies will have to include to be eligible to be offered in exchanges. These cost estimates will likely increase.

Health coverage doesn’t grow on trees and doesn’t magically appear on your doorstep. “Free” health care isn’t free, and those who spout that are letting politics trump economics.

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