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Caring for the Poor: The Altruism of Physicians

Anne Scheetz, MD
JAMA. 1989;261(3):378-379. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420030052015.
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To the Editor.—  In his commentary on financing medical care for the poor, Dr Ginzberg1 says, "In many states physician reimbursement for Medicaid patients is so low... that only a small minority of physicians, and surely not the best trained, treat them." He goes on to admit that some competent physicians may be willing to care for the poor.Why does he make any link between training and competence on the one hand and willingness to provide poorly reimbursed care on the other? For those of us who choose to work in poor areas of the country it becomes a source of bitterness that some of our colleagues and some better-off patients assume that we would work for more money if we could. The reluctance of some patients either to associate with poor patients or to go to a physician who can do no better than to practice among


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