In his Dec. 30 letter [“This health-care market is not free”], Jay Baker stated that “the bad effects” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “are justifiably attributable to the ACA and not a response to it of a market that is no longer a free one.”

As a semi-retired doctor, I can report that our health-care system has never operated as a free market. Physicians generally choose medicines, treatments and hospitals with little to no regard to patient preferences or financial repercussions, except perhaps in those instances when the choice may benefit the prescriber. Insurance companies proscribe certain procedures and use only selected doctors. To call this a “free market” is a failure to understand the free market, our health-care system or both.                                                

George Smith, Frederick

Jay Baker claimed that, because of government interference, the Affordable Care Act does not establish a free market. I agree with his general conclusion. However, his statements that the function of the free market is to “best serve the needs of consumers” and “that’s economics” were risible in the extreme. Free markets simply offer untrammeled interactions between buyer and seller. Has Mr. Baker never heard the phrase “caveat emptor”?

John Featherstone, Potomac

Regarding the Jan. 1 news article “Sotomayor delays law’s birth control mandate”:

I am concerned that we are giving employers control over their employees’ health care. The mandate in question does not force religion-affiliated employers to purchase or dispense contraception. It requires them only to provide their employees with the option of obtaining contraception through their employer-provided insurance, much in the same way they use their employer-provided salary to purchase things they deem necessary in their private lives.

Abhi Kole, Columbia