Forgive Student Loans
Over the past week, you may have noticed that I have devoted several of my daily posts to highlight the emerging student loan crisis. I was prompted to focus in on this issue after hearing of a contest over on SDN to see who would have the highest debt after graduating from med school. Needless to say I was horrified. After awarding Tufts Medical School the prize for having the highest tuition and fees in the nation, a lot of discussion erupted over this. I was contacted by Ms. C. Cryn Johannsen, the Promotional Writer and Director of Marketing for the Forgive Student Loan Debt Movement (founded by Robert Applebaum whose facebook group now has over 232,000 members and climbing as of this writing). I get many emails from colleagues venting their frustration over the state of healthcare who ask how they can help but often feel powerless. Here is one recent particular message, “For one thing, what can any resident do about tuition costs? We paid our tuitions and moved on. We made the decisions, good or bad, to attend expensive med schools over state schools 5 years ago. What good is posting about tuition costs going to do for us NOW? We made our beds already and now have to live with the consequences.” Regarding the student loan issue, I too had similar feelings. However, with the passage of IBR as a part of the College Cost and Reduction Act of 2007 and the introduction of a new president a glimmer of hope appeared. With student loans ballooning out of control more must be done. The massive debt loads are only fueling the fire to the rising cost of healthcare in this country. The president has asked for ideas from the public in how to better control costs in healthcare…Obama are you listening? Your voices are being heard and I strongly believe that change can and will happen. I strongly encourage everyone to show their support of this grassroots movement by chipping in a mere $5 (which is less than your nearly useless AMSA dues but will actually mean something) to buy a bumper sticker. Though I would’ve preferred my bumper sticker to read, “My other house is my student loans”, I eagerly await for mine in the mail. Now at least everyone will understand why a new attending is still driving around in a clunker.