When Pelosi Says 'Free,' Reach for Your Wallet?
Yes, Pelosi actually believes Washington had to get involved in health care to reduce its cost.
The Democratic leader then listed some of Obamacare's new benefits: "free" annual checkups and preventive care and the ability of adult children to stay on their parents' policies until age 26.
Josh Archambault, director of health care policy for the Boston-based Pioneer Institute, expressed the frustration felt by health policy wonks who know the new benefits "are not free." The cost of physicals and services doesn't go away.
"It's OK to decide that we should offer something as a preventive service, but we must understand the trade-off of cost," Archambault noted. "We all pay more as a result."
Obama also has made the dubious claim that preventive care "saves money for families, for businesses, for government, for everybody." Problem: It's not true. Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf warned in 2009, "Although different types of preventive care have different effects on spending, the evidence suggests that for most preventive services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall." Elmendorf cited a 2008 New England Journal of Medicine article that reported that less than 20 percent of preventive services save money, whereas the rest drive up costs.