Physician Altruism and Healthcare Cost Reform: Treating the Sick at No Charge
OK..what's wrong with this?: if the people and the government want to improve healthcare in the United States and reduce healthcare costs, why not start by making state laws that require physicians, as part of their licensing, to engage in a certain amount of "pro-bono", no charge, community medical service to the sick every year? This idea, which I think has been thought of before, was currently brought up in a Los Angeles Times article by David Lazarus titled "Mandating pro bono work could help fix healthcare system". Mr. Lazarus also brings up the issue of the difficulty currently in having physicians in one state go to another state to perform that charity work because of state laws restricting practice to the state where the doctor is licensed. Nevertheless, mandating the participation of doctors to treat without charge in their office, hospitals or in "free clinics" could make an impact on medical care costs. Wouldn't it? Of course, it would represent altruism on the part of the doctor but as a participant in a free clinic in the Los Angeles area, it does give me a good feeling.
What do you think about the idea? What would doctors think about it? And while we are at it, why not a bit of "pro bono" work by insurance companies and provide medical care policies even for a certain percentage of patients who can't pay for it? That would represent reducing health care costs to the taxpayers and providing care for the previously uninsured without more governmental spending. Any other suggestions about altuistic behaviors? ..Maurice.