February 05, 2005

Medical student debt

The Mad House Madman has a great post about the magnitude of medical student debt.

The bottom line: it's staggering. Even at the historically low interest rates we've experienced over the past few years, the payments required to service this kind of debt are huge. And as the Madman notes, these payments will get a whole lot bigger as interest rates begin to climb.

I posted a piece about a month ago about what I think is one of the major reasons for this ballooning debt: the failure of state governments to check the skyrocketing tuition rates of public medical schools.

I'm looking forward to the next post in the series, which promises to discuss the effects of debt on the decisions medical school graduates make. I suspect it will come down to this: new physicians must chase after money much harder than they would have had to absent the debt. In an age where health care costs are preventing many citizens from obtaining basic care, the last thing we need is a new generation of doctors who are desperate for more money. Sadly, that seems to be exactly what we'll get.

Posted by Carey at February 5, 2005 07:36 PM

Unfortunately, I am workig on the next piece now and it's a lot of what you say but with an interesting and scary trend that really could have many more reprocussions than just chasing after money. If we'd all chase money how does that affect the patients. You'll find out.

Thanks for pluggin the piece by the way.

Posted by: madhouse madman at February 6, 2005 02:29 AM

As someone who has spent the past 10 years working in healthcare, I think it's a little hyberolized to think that poor doctors will be paupers thanks to debt - doubtful. In fact, medicine is still the most stable, risk-adverse field one can go into. The supply (sick people) will always be great and so the demand (doctors) will always be great as well. Furhtermore, I think it is a good to put the breaks on a bit. We need more people going into medicine not for the money but rather because they are truly empathic people - a quality lacking in so many physicians currently. I do think some people will choose other fields where the return is greater - but is that new?

Posted by: BoSox at February 12, 2005 02:05 AM