Apparently there is no such thing as a free lunch… But there is such a thing as free birth control. At least that’s according to Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius. According to the healthcare.gov business wiz (sarcasm), preventative care, maternity care, contraception and abortifacients are all “free.” Glossing over the fact that these services are being paid for by someone, the health secretary engaged in a fiery exchange with Republican Representative John Shimkus (IL) over the issue.
Shortly after Sebelius made the assertion that no one will pay, directly or indirectly, for the mandated expansion in insurance coverage, another heated exchange erupted as Shimkus cut the Secretary’s answer short. There was, evidently, some debate over whether or not the Secretary had the right to finish her answer. Honestly, this was a silly argument given her clear intention to verbally tap dance around the question.
The Illinois Republican (and I do mean the Republican from Illinois) was trying to make the point that nothing in life is free. While there may be no copays or additional out-of-pocket cost for preventative care, it is highly unlikely the insurance companies will simply eat the additional cost for the sake of upholding the administration’s promise of all-you-can-take Sandra Fluke style healthcare.
If Sebelius truly believed her argument (that these services are actually “free”) she is exactly the person who used-car-salesmen pray will walk onto their lot. She’s the type of person that will believe a $60,000 vehicle comes with “free” heated seats… Heck, she might even believe that if you pay $60,000 for the seats they’ll throw the car in for free.
Providers of preventative care will not be volunteering their time. Insurance companies will not forgo calculating the cost of additional services into premiums, fees or other profit generating business endeavors. And consumers will, in the end, bear the burden of higher premiums. In fact, increased premiums are one of the many reasons that images of the Hindenburg race through the mind as Obamacare unfolds its ugly truth to Americans. (OH THE HUMANITY!!!)
Such comprehensive ignorance of economic truths, however, underscore far more than just Sebelius’s misunderstanding of the word “free.” Such foundationally perverted views of what “free” services mean also explains the entitlement mentality that is rampant throughout America. Everything seems “free” when you’re talking about someone else’s money. According to people like Sebelius, government mandates have no cost to businesses or consumers, because – quite frankly – it’s not her check book that is impacted by the regulations.
In his frustration over explaining basic business math to the bureaucrat who now controls 1/6th of the US economy, Shimkus compared the Secretary to North Korea. The real outrage (according to the media) is that Shimkus lost his temper and made a “regrettable” analogy. (In the congressman’s defense, he probably wanted to equate her with a soviet propaganda chief… But was afraid that she would take the analogy as a compliment.)
And, to be fair, the analogy was a little bit of a stretch. I mean, heck, at least North Korea would have had the decency to drag Congressman Shimkus out of the hearing in shackles.