"It's one small piece of health care reform, but it's a big deal for medical schools and doctor's offices: forgiving the student loans of doctors who choose primary care," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
"Primary care physicians now make up 35 percent of today's physician workforce, according to the Council on Graduate Medical Education. Already there are shortages in some parts of the country. But only 20 percent of medical school graduates are choosing those fields." The average medical school graduate owes about $137,000, and primary care fields can pay half as much as some specialties. Loan forgiveness programs could make a career in primary care "feasible," one medical professor said. But, for now, such programs are too restrictive and limited to draw the numbers needed in primary care, experts say (Ross, 10/27).
Related KHN story: Health Bills In Congress Won't Fix Doctor Shortage (10/12)