December 29, 2013

The secondary headline for the Dec. 26 editorial “Health-care economics 101” asserted, “Some of the ACA’s ‘flaws’ are the workings of a free market.” Does The Post understand what the word “free” means when juxtaposed with the word “market”? Economics 101 teaches that a free market is one free of distortions caused by government interference. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a perfect example of government interference in the marketplace.  

Of course, the marketplace still will function and try to adapt to the effects of the government interference, but it is no longer free. The function of the free market is to best serve the needs of consumers, and the ability of the market to do that is almost always degraded by government interference, which means that consumers’ needs are less well served. Therefore, the bad effects (the “flaws”) of the ACA are justifiably attributable to the ACA and not to the response to it of a market that is no longer a free one.

That’s economics.

Jay R. Baker, Rockville