With apologies to Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman, there is a free lunch after all. Blue Cross of California has expanded a unique technology initiative to give 1,200 physicians either a complete desktop computer system or a personal digital assistant (PDAs)-free of charge.This is the second wave of the 21st century technology give-away program in the state, and targets physicians taking part in two safety-net health care plans-called the Medi-Cal and Healthy Family Insurance programs-for poor, uninsured or low-income patients.

The technology offer is aimed at doctors who for a variety of reasons are reluctant to enter the electronic world in their practice offices-even though they face an endless pile of paperwork.

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