Student loan debt

I wish the crushing effect of hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loans was showing up in the health care debate more prominently. In addition to universal coverage, non-profit insurance and governmental pricing oversight in every health care system that is more successful than ours in the United States, there is also government support of higher education, including medical education.

Every medical school that opens in my state, including my own, has something in its mission statement about increasing primary care providers for underserved areas. But, when a medical student is facing a decent single family home’s worth of financial debt, with interest, when she graduates, how tempting is primary care? As long as our model pays specialists more, and pays per procedure rather than for outcomes and other quality measures, students will have a huge incentive to follow the money.

As students at UCLA unsuccessfully fought tuition hikes, and everyone and her mother has an opinion about health care reform, student doctors are strangely quiet. We’re too busy studying for boards, trying to impress on rotations, and deciding which specialty will pay our bills.

I’m sick of hearing about trickle down economics, and how tax cuts to the rich and corporations are supposed to help drive success. How about funding university and graduate school? MBAs, law school, education degrees, science and technology, green technology, medicine, etc. Isn’t that what will drive the success of our country, not cutting a break to people who have already made it?

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Student loan debt

  1. I agree with you completely! Thinking about my loans makes me sick to my stomach..ugh. I feel like we have no choice but to do something other than family practice. It is a sad state when I feel like the gov’t will never help us pay back our loans or anything of the sort because it just isn’t at the forefront.

  2. CableGirl

    Could not agree with you more. While my degrees were not medical, the reason all of my graduate work was done overseas was largely because European (and Canadian) institutes are willing to offer full scholarships to graduate students. No PhD program I considered in this country was willing to do the same.

  3. rowmyboat

    Don’t forget all those librarians!

    I agree times a million.

    • MomTFH

      Yes, I am a HUGE librarian fan. I always joke with my buddy Rachel at Women’s Health News that I am a medical librarian wanna be.

      Knowledge = power. Librarians are advocates of and facilitators of knowledge. It’s a good thing.

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