Jonah Goldberg

That's not true either. First of all, you'd think people would understand that there is no such thing as "at no cost." You are paying for "free" mammograms, blood tests and the rest, even if you don't see a line item for them on your bill. And even if you're poor enough that you don't even see a bill, that doesn't mean no one's paying. That's why millions of Americans who've lost their health insurance thanks to Obamacare are discovering that the new plans it offers are either more expensive, have higher deductibles or both.

Also, prevention doesn't necessarily save money. I know that Benjamin Franklin said an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. (People always leave out the fact that he owned an insurance company that ran at a profit.) The idea that prevention saves money is one of these things that intuitively sounds like it has to be true. But think about it.

According to the National Cancer Institute, 12.4 percent of American women will get breast cancer at some point in their lives. So for every positive diagnosis there are seven negative diagnoses. Those tests cost a lot of money. Moreover, of the women who do get it, premature screenings won't necessarily catch it. That in no way means that screenings don't make sense. They do, particularly for women in high-risk groups. But testing everybody isn't a great way to save money. As the Congressional Budget Office reported in August, "The evidence suggests that for most preventive services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall."

When presented with these and other facts, Obamacare's defenders note that the rate of increase in health-care costs has slowed in recent years. "I'm not going to walk away from something that has helped the cost of health care grow at its slowest rate in 50 years," Obama said last month.

This spin doesn't work either. The slowing of health-care costs began a decade ago, and even the administration's own actuaries say the recent drop is mostly attributable to the lousy economy. But even that's too generous to Obama. Costs haven't dropped. The rate of increase in spending has slowed. We're still on course to spend a record $2.9 trillion on health care in 2013.

Obamacare may have been sold on a trinity of lies, but it turns out it's also lies all the way down.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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