17 June 2009

I Am A Simple Man

So I can only have simple thoughts.

All the talk about solving the heath care problem leaves me dizzy. The various sides all make some sense, the well trained tolerant and understanding liberal my parents reared finds merit in whoever is speaking at the time. And like our president, I keep looking for an inclusive solution, one that does not partake of the binary, win-lose, options that seem to be the only ones.

Here’s my simple thought – government funded medical school.

Training for medical care is expensive, and it takes a long time. No wonder physicians expect to make a solid income. They train hard and long. But what if the cost were removed from the picture? What if, like our military academies, those who qualified were given their education, through their initial residencies in fact? Sounds expensive, and it is. Why do it?

Because those who attend military academies then serve in the military. They give back in service what the received in training. We have done this before through the Public Health Service. Our physician years ago was a family practice resident whose education was funded by the PHS. She, in turn, served certain amount of time in a rural clinic and low pay.

Apply this nationally now. If you get into medical school, in return for having your education funded, you the new physician, would have to maintain a minimal but actual number of patients as a primary care physician. And basic primary services, like annual exams and immunizations, prenatal work, pediatric exams, screenings, and non diagnostic tests like blood work would be provided without fee so that everyone in the country had a primary doctor.

This would be the repayment required of physicians. I am guessing that, nationally, basic primary care - wellness care, screening, and health maintenance, costs less than the cost of medical school. A lot of health problems stem from people not seeing physicians routinely and getting care before a problem needs more extensive and expensive care.

Nationalize medical school education costs and require physicians to provide free primary care to everyone. Will it work? Who knows? Like I said, I am a simple man.


Revwilly said...

Fred, any time you get government money involved in any thing, the government gets involved. Anything with which the government gets involved never works very well and ends up cost more.

Would some please tell me one thing the federal government does well?

WFW said...

I did not expect such dogmatism from you, friend. Government is populated with people, just like business. Sin is everywhere. While I do not dispute the frustrations of bureaucracy, I have as many frustrations with private enterprise.

But did I say government run med schools? Printing checks is something they do pretty well, come to think. And if my idea is not fix, it's a darn sight simpler than all the other ideas out there.

You sound extra testy, comrade. Something more than my blog eating at ya?

PoetNessa said...

Hi Fred,

How about free education for everyone -- all education? I'm thinking what a wonderful world we could build if there was free education (but only for those willing to really complete the work required, with supports as needed, for such education).

Have a great summer and long summer evenings, too!