Heck yeah!! So should lunch. But two researchers say making medical school free could send more young doctors into primary care and rural practice, thus solving one of the big challenges facing health care today. And they've got a way to pay for it too.
There’s a doctor shortage in rural America. This is not news – just the opposite – it’s been going on for ages. Even old Doc Adams, the country doctor in “Gunsmoke,” was constantly overworked. In one episode, when he finally gets a vacation, he’s kidnapped by outlaws in need of his services. Present-day Missouri ain’t Dodge City, Kansas. But many rural doctors are still overstretched.
Two weeks ago, President Obama told the nation, “Washington has to live within its means.” As Democrats and Republicans continue to scour the federal budget for over a trillion dollars in possible cuts, one group very likely to be affected is rural hospitals in the Midwest and across the nation.
There are 1.6 million people living in rural Missouri, and many have a hard time accessing health care. In the 2011 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s healthy county rankings, Hickory County in West Central Missouri is rated one of the worst in the state in terms of mental health. It’s so bad, residents say they experience just over a week’s worth of poor mental health days each month. They are also unhealthier and experience more poverty than the national average.