Political Reform

Health Care Reform

Page 5

         9 The high costs of medical school / education reform
One of the challenges in medical care is how long it takes to educate a doctor, and how much it costs.  The huge loans they have to take out to get through medical school require that they get a very high salary in order to pay those loans off.  If we made schooling cheaper for doctors we could pay them less, and they would actually still have the same amount of disposable income after making their loan payments.  One problem with how we educate doctors, is that we require them to get a 4 year degree before even starting medical school.  That degree can be completely unrelated to the practice of medicine, and is used as far as I know as just a way to filter out applicants.  I would replace this with a 2 year degree in pre Med, where almost all the courses are useful to the practice of medicine, then you can filter out who you let in to med school based on those results.  Once the applicant gets to med school, since he has a pre med degree he will be able to jump into his second year of medical school instead of starting at the beginning.  This could potentially shorten the schooling time to become a doctor by 3 years.
Another step we can take here is to hire some accountants to audit hospital and medical school budgets and prices.  If we find some areas where they are charging far too much we can have the government set up a competing service or school that operates at a fixed 10% profit margin.  This competition will eventually drive prices down to a reasonable level at which point the government can sell of the business it started into the private sector.
         10 Government funded research and development, especially for treatments that are currently too expensive to treat for most people, or that are currently untreatable.  During our auditing of medical treatment and schooling, we may find treatments that are too expensive for people to pay for due to the cost of the treatment rather than excessive profit margins.  In order to help in these cases the federal government can give out research and development grants.  These federal grants would be focused on finding cheaper treatments and then giving the resulting patents out for free to all medical companies.  Another focus would be to research current treatments to find ways to lower the cost of existing treatments.  These funds could also be used to purchase patents developed by private companies, and then release them into the public domain for the general good of society.  an example of this would be drugs for treating aids.  They are very expensive, and one of the countries that most needs them (southern Africa)  can't afford them.