AMA offers suggestions on cutting med school debt

When the American Medical Association has its big annual meeting next week in Chicago, it will have a full plate of issues to deal with as usual. While health reform will doubtless be at center stage, members also plan to address the growing size of the debt load medical students have to bear by the time they graduate.

Medical students ended up with an average of $126,714 as of 2007, a number that only continues to grow, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. The AMA would like to shave down that number, which pushes them to choose higher-paying specialties rather than primary care, and adds to the physician shortage.

AMA proposals to cutting down med school debt include getting Congress to approve more tax deductibility for tuition and loans, and expanding state and federal scholarship funding. The AMA is also looking for ways to reduce the length of medical school training, possibly by creating combined B.A./M.D. programs, or competency-based curriculums.

To learn more about this issue:
- read this Wall Street Journal health blog item

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