The Obama Administration today announced sweeping reforms of another economic sector threatened by the current recession. In a dramatic and far-reaching decision, a bailout will be attempted of insolvent medical practices which threaten the stability of the health system.
The medical crisis results from excess investment in sub-prime specialties during the 70's and early 80's. The bubble became unsustainable during the late 1990's when primary care prices dropped and doctors found themselves in specialties they couldn’t afford. Despite working longer hours and seeing more patients, they fell farther into insolvency. Many abandoned general medicine altogether, leaving behind blighted patients and devastated communities. Some fled into hospital medicine or to refinance careers in a new specialty .
The current proposal would establish a new regulatory body with broad powers, a moratorium on second residencies, and would subsidize each sub-prime specialist with almost $37.26 per year for two years in an attempt to keep doctors in practice.
Many analysts blame the residencies for the fiasco. “Teaching institutions encouraged sleep-deprived medical students to accept residency contract terms little less than indentured servitude. These predators knew they could market the derivative doctors to other institutions and practices before the bubble burst.” asserts one observer.
Other experts disagree. “As students they knew what they signed up for. They were well aware of the low pay and long hours. We need the Government to be firm and refuse to subsidize such risky behavior.” stated Dr. C. P. Tea of the American College of Remunerology .
However A. Fool, MD says she was enticed by the U.S. Government itself. “Federal policies were a giant bait-and-switch. We students were encouraged to enter general internal medicine and family practice and residencies were paid many Federal dollars to expand training slots. Once we completed training and entered practice, the rules and payment system were changed. We’ve been RUCed.”
The proposal will soon be submitted to Congress.