As AOA president, one of my goals is to visit osteopathic medical students around the country. In just a few days, I’ll be on the UMDNJ campus visiting with first- and second-year osteopathic medical students.
These past few months have taken me to several osteopathic medical schools and one of the questions that has often been asked by your fellow students is what policy changes are taking place in D.C. that affect us as students and future physicians? If you’re interested in primary care, consider the National Health Service Corps. The Patient Protection Affordable Care Act provided increased funding for this program. In exchange for a two- to five-year commitment in a health professional shortage area, you can receive $60,000-$170,000 for repaying your student loans.
Most recently, President Obama introduced the "Help Americans Manage Student Loan Debt" program. Currently, through the Income-Based Repayment program, repayment of federal loans is capped at 15% of discretionary income but as of January 2012, it will be capped at 10% and students receive debt forgiveness after 20 years. The program will also enable borrowers to consolidate Federal Family Education Loans into Direct Loans beginning in January 2012. This would mean making one payment and paying one interest rate with a 0.5% reduction in interest.
As for changes that will affect you as future physicians, right now one of the major issues we’re focused on is repealing the Medicare physician payment formula. On Jan. 1, 2012, we’re looking at a cut of nearly 30%. We need a permanent solution to this prolonged problem.
This is just one of the questions your fellow students have asked. What’s on your mind? Post your questions on this blog and let’s discuss them when I’m on campus Wednesday, Nov. 9. I’ll see you in Stratford!