Insurance agents getting phone calls asking, "Where do we get the free ObamaCare?"

Via JWF, I’m tempted to call this Exhibit A in why basic lessons in economics should start in, say, the third grade. But let’s face it: How many parents trust their kid’s teacher to lay a solid, unpoliticized foundation for their understanding of markets?

Someday, and sooner than they think, these folks will notice that everything is five to 10 percent more expensive than it used to be. I wonder if they’ll make the connection.

Questions reflecting confusion have flooded insurance companies, doctors’ offices, human resources departments and business groups.

“They’re saying, ‘Where do we get the free Obama care, and how do I sign up for that?'” said Carrie McLean, a licensed agent for The California-based company sells coverage from 185 health insurance carriers in 50 states.

McLean said the call center had been inundated by uninsured consumers who were hoping that the overhaul would translate into instant, affordable coverage. That widespread misconception may have originated in part from distorted rhetoric about the legislation bubbling up from the hyper-partisan debate about it in Washington and some media outlets, such as when opponents denounced it as socialism.

“We tell them it’s not free, that there are going to be things in place that help people who are low-income, but that ultimately most of that is not going to be taking place until 2014,” McLean said.

Another woman quoted in the story wonders, “Why does it take so long for certain health care things to take effect?” I’d love the chance to explain it to her. The good news for Dems is that part of the toxic polling for ObamaCare is coming from people like this who want their unicorn and want it now and are grumpy when they find they can’t have it. That’s bound to soften in time as expectations adjust, so the polls will rebound (a bit). Or will they? “Free O-Care” sounds good but “free No-Care” will bring new disappointment, and needless to say, given the track record of recent state experiments with this subject, unsustainability should become a problem sooner than anyone expects. If only we had truly free health care, like, er, single-payer countries do…