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Require doctors to donate time?

August 23, 2009

Re: David Lazarus' consumer column "A healthcare solution that costs nothing," Aug. 16:

David Lazarus' suggestion that doctors be forced to do pro bono work typifies the glibness with which statists and "liberals" advocate the use of force to solve social problems.

It is true that the "solution" would cost nothing to Mr. Lazarus or the patients, but it would be costly to doctors already working long hours and saddled with debt and malpractice insurance premiums.

How one can justify using the law to infringe upon liberty and property -- which it was established to protect -- is apparently never considered by our would-be central planners.

Darren Schenck

Los Angeles

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I am an infectious diseases expert and have provided free services in Thailand, China and Vietnam. I am happy to give away my services.

I can't do so in the United States, though, without risking a lawsuit that might bankrupt my family. I've tried to entice retired physicians to volunteer, but they have the same concerns. Any person with a typewriter can sue us!

You should write about the need for tort reform.

Dr. Steven E. Larson

Riverside

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I find the proposal interesting. Not completely agreeable, but certainly interesting.

I would like to add to it, though, and offer that anyone receiving free healthcare from these doctors should also have to donate time. You don't get something for nothing, and various communities would benefit from volunteers.

Bob Filacchione

Buena Park

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Perhaps the newspaper industry could be saved, too, by making reporters work for free for a month or two every year.

Gary C. Simons

Calabasas

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