So I recently learned of the Congressional move to cut Graduate Medical Education (GME) funding and through my neurotic obsession with the Student Doctor Network (SDN) I came across the AAMC page with information on how to contact your local congressperson to encourage them to preserve this important aspect of a future physician’s training. From the AAMC:
“Due to the recently-passed debt ceiling/deficit reduction bill that eliminates graduate and professional interest subsidies for federal Stafford loans, medical students will pay an additional $10,000 to $20,000 over the life of their loans. In light of this additional financial burden, please urge the Congress to protect GME/IME funding for medical residency programs to help ensure that aspiring physicians can complete their education.”
Go here and put in your zip code. You’ll then be directed to a page where you fill out basic info about yourself (name, address, that’s it!) and you send off a pre-written letter directly to your congressional representatives. This is an easy, crucial action to take if you value your future education as a physician!
The letter says this:
“November 23, 2011
[recipient address is inserted here]
Dear [recipient name is inserted here],
As a medical student from your state (and a member of the next generation of physicians to care for Medicare beneficiaries and their families), I strongly urge you and your colleagues to preserve Medicare funding for Graduate Medical Education (GME). These payments help support a portion of the costs associated with training physicians under close supervision once they complete medical school. They also help cover a portion of the unique costs associated with providing patient care services unavailable elsewhere in the community.
The nation’s medical students hold a median student loan debt of $160,000. A recently enacted law has increased this amount by an additional $10,000 – $20,000 through the elimination of graduate and professional Stafford interest loan subsidies.
It is imperative that Congress now protect access to residency training
programs (GME) so that we can fulfill our aspirations of keeping America
healthy. Cutting Medicare GME support will jeopardize the availability of
training positions and our ability to fulfill the requirements of becoming
a new physician. As our nation faces a physician workforce shortage, along with a record number of new Medicare beneficiaries, it is irresponsible to try to balance the budget on the backs of young physicians and the seniors they will care for.
We understand and appreciate the seriousness of our nation’s deficit and
the work underway by the “Super Committee.” Indeed, our nation’s long-term economic well-being deserves serious consideration. However, Congress and the Administration must also seriously consider the immediate and long-term implications that teaching hospital cuts will have on Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and millions of other Americans in the years to come.
Please urge your Senate colleagues, the Congressional Leadership, the
Obama Administration, and the Super Committee to oppose Medicare GME reductions as part of deficit reduction.
It’s easy to do and super important! Have you sent a letter yet? Did you get a response back? Let me know!