July 26, 2006

The Cuban Solution

For some reason, I was incredulous when I read the first para of this article. American citizens not being able to afford medical school in the US? You gotta be kidding, right? There are some thoughts that come to mind when reading this article-
there is something rotten in the state of america when aspiring and talented medical students cannot afford school. For crying out loud, this is america. (1)States should provide atleast 80 % of the funding in the form of pell grants or loans(that can be forgiven if they later serve in impoverished areas). The remaining 20 % can be in the form of scholarships. People are readily willing to put up 20% scholarships if they know that the student will not be financially burdened for the remaining time.
I know for a fact that the US armed forces is a very generous employer. After you complete medical school, work for the forces for 5 years and all your loans are taken care of. For students with 200,000 $ loans, this is a god-sent. After 5 years in the army, they can now contribute to whatever community they want.
Doctors are not poorly paid in the US. The only solution to this is make loans on easier terms to medical students. See (1).
Make medical school less of a torture. In India, medical school is 5 years of MBBS and then 2 years of MD and maybe 2 years of speciality. Instead in the US, you need to have a bachelors degree to even apply to medical school. Very unappetizing.
There is a growing trend in India for medical students to go to China(search for article of kerala medical students going to china in the times of india), east europe, russia for medical studies. The fees is far less than what they would have to pay in India and admissions are far easier. Due to the unholy politics of reservations, admissions to medical colleges is far far tougher than necessary. Many aspiring medical students have to pay 20,000-100,000 $(not a typo) for admissions to good medical colleges. Medical education needs to be rationalized, in India and the US.


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