Medical care is a Big Topic these days. One video , that will Upworthy has been circulating around the social media marketing world, describes the issue of health care costs in the U. S. as much more complex than what most people presume. After seeing it, though, I used to be surprised that one of my biggest beefs (yes, sometimes my planet is me-centric, but stay with me personally here) wasn’t mentioned: Medical school is too expensive.
When compared to average wage-earner, the bulk of doctors earns a lot of money. Yet, the distance narrows significantly — and in some cases physicians even fall short — when compared to other professions (MBAs or lawyers) or occupations, such as engineers. An MBA could be away to Wall Street, a six-figure income easily within her grasp, after two years of B-school. However, after earning an undergrad level, a typical med student can anticipate at least five years of medical school, debt and meager income just before even seeing the possibility of a salary that will approaches the $100k mark. Throw in the difficulty of getting into med school and the rigors of the profession, could it be at all surprising that the U. T. is facing a physician shortage?
Then, if you consider the amount of debt an MD graduates with, is it any surprise that they anticipate — and demand — to be paid a lot of money for their services and talents? I don’t think so.
Medical groups offer a gloomy picture of the high debt several med school students take on to complete their education. Research suggests your debt level can be a barrier for skilled minority and low-income students and can also impact the areas of medicine young doctors choose to pursue, resulting in shortages in some less remunerative fields of practice.
Based on the American Medical Association, the average educational debt of med school students financing their education for loans is $166, 750 for the class of 2012. AMA numbers show that 79 percent of delinquent graduates have debt of a minimum of $100, 000. Sixty-two percent associated with indebted graduates have debt associated with at least $150, 000.
The Association of American Medical Colleges says the debt issue retains many qualified students from attending medical school, particularly minorities. Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans make up about a quarter of the nation’s population, but only 12 percent of its medical students. A recent survey found that this cost of medical school is the number one reason why qualified minority students choose not to attend.
Based on the AMA, many medical students feel they have to pursue the more lucrative expertise rather than become family practice doctors or work in rural areas because of financial reasons. Studies show that debt burden may be pushing doctors out of primary care and into more lucrative specialty fields.
The issue of large debt for medical school students isn’t likely to be going away sooner. According to the American Medical Association, medical education debt is driven by rising tuition. Association of United states Medical Colleges data show that will median private medical school tuition and fees increased by 50 percent in the 20 years between 1984 and 2004. Median public medical school tuition and fees increased by 133 percent over the same time period, according to AAMC numbers.
If we are demanding affordable medical care, shouldn’t we be offering affordable medical school to the smart and talented students who qualify for entrance?
Sure, there are a few applications out there that forgive medical school debts or offer scholarships in exchange for service. But what about the chemistry majors who decide to go into pharmaceutical sales to make a boatload pounds and avoid the expense of medical school? Wouldn’t we rather have them since physicians, or as medical researchers choosing new ways to treat and remedy disease?
It certainly seems to me that if we are going to talk about the idea of capping what physicians get and hospitals charge, that it can’t really be done without taking into consideration your debt that many med school graduates are usually dealing with. If such debt had been reduced — or even non-existent — for general-practice physicians, health care costs for non-specialty medical treatment could certainly be reduced with less outrage from the medical community. At least, within my mind, it could.
Certainly, this is all pipe-dreamy, I know. However it reflects very clearly the effect that out-of-control higher ed costs have on the economy in general. The more debt students graduate with, the less money they have to recycle into the economic climate and, at the same time, the greater the motivation to follow the money instead of community-oriented or altruistic paths.