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February 16. 2012 11:47PM

It's not free: Obama's misleading sales pitch

If you were up late one night and saw a TV infomercial that promised you “free preventive care” services, would you call the number? Would you believe that you could get health care services — of any kind — absolutely for free, with no strings whatsoever attached? Probably not.

The American ear has been trained to identify the too-good-to-be-true sales pitch as something that is likely to cost the poor soul who falls for it far more in the long run than what the product is actually worth. So why do so many Americans believe the impossible when they hear it from politicians rather than late-night pitchmen?

The Obama administration has lately begun telling Americans that they should be thankful for the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) because it has guaranteed them access to “free preventive services.”

“Americans of all ages can now get the preventive services they need, like mammograms and the new Annual Wellness Visit, free of charge, as a result of the new health care law,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a Wednesday press release. The administration is aggressively targeting local media nationwide with this propaganda campaign. In this election year, millions might fall for it.

Of course, what the administration labels as “free” is nothing of the sort. Doctors do not provide the services as charity — without compensation. No, you pay. You just don't pay in the same way you paid before.

The law requires new insurance plans to pay 100 percent of the costs of certain preventive services. So new enrollees don't have to pay out-of-pocket for, say, cancer screening. Free, right? No. The insurer pays the physician. And who pays the insurer for those services? The insureds do. That means you.

That and other Obamacare freebies that have kicked in so far have already raised insurance premiums by between 1 and 3 percent, depending on the study. You're still paying for those visits, but through your premiums, not your co-pays.

There is no such thing as a free lunch — or a free medical service. Someone always pays. Always.

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