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March 23, 1990

Fifty Hours for the Poor

JAMA. 1990;263(12):1631. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440120053017

To the Editor.—  In their editorial, Dr Lundberg and Mr Bodine1 call for free service to the indigent by lawyers and physicians at a rate of 50 hours each year.Indeed, we owe services to the indigent. However, this is based on our status as relatively affluent members of society, not on our professional expertise. These services should be provided by each of us through our taxes. Our exposure should not depend on whether maternity services or criminal defense, coronary care or tenants-rights cases predominate.I, for one, am perfectly willing to pay for this care. What I am not willing to do is to let the charlatans in political office off the hook, even if they ask me to read their lips.