16 September 2007

constitution day: w strikes again

it's a fact: 99.9% of medical students depend upon federal funding from the U.S. government in order to pay for medical school and its associated costs (i.e. FOOD), while in school. the funding is not guaranteed--there are many, many hoops to jump through (read: 10,000 or so forms to fill out and sign) before a student can get such funding. if we do get student loans, we're considered "lucky." our interest rate on our student loans from the government is currently capped at 8%, as opposed to the uncapped rates, some upwards of 22%, on private loans. nevertheless, it goes without saying that if the government lends an average of $200,000.00 at 8% interest to almost every medical student (~4,000 nationwide?) in the country during his or her tenure in medical school, they end up earning quite a lot of money off of us. add to this the amount the government discounts our services once we do go into practice and one starts to wonder: is the government screwing over its healthcare providers? i'll leave you to chew on the answer to that one....

(aside: too bad michael moore left the education part out of "sicko"...it's another way that the U.S. is lagging behind the rest of the world with respect to health care.)

in the meantime, i'm here to report that the hoops have just become more numerous. why? because some idiot, somewhere in Washington D.C., decided that all institutions receiving federal funding must celebrate--are you ready for this?--CONSTITUTION DAY. [have any of you even heard of constitution day? did you know that it's tomorrow? sorry, no, you don't get the day off from work. not even if you're the postman.] as such, schools that funnel federal funding to their students--including medical schools--must hold activities to celebrate constitution day. i kid you not. we're talking lectures, people. videos. presentations by politicians. and attendance, as i've been informed, is MANDATORY.

apparently, this is simply one of the latest actions taken by the department of education, which is now diving wholeheartedly into its misdirected "no child left behind" and "american competitiveness initiative" programs. what i want to know is: how do they think they're helping medical students by forcing them to take time out of their studies to attend lectures on the constitution? (is it not bad enough that we only have, oh, a week to cover the anatomy of the abdomen? how about cutting that down to an hour? it's not like we need to know about the abdomen or anything....) do they not realize that the majority of medical students likely have better knowledge of the constitution than most politicians serving in government? (i'd dare them to test our knowledge versus W's, but it'd take them too long to decide on a color scheme for the scantron to actually give us the test before he's out of office....) do they actually think that we want to celebrate constitution day when we realize that (among other things) it does nothing to ensure healthcare for all citizens?

we'd be better off having lectures on how to understand medicare or medicaid or governmental policies on healthcare. but that would mean that the government would have to produce clear directives on such matters and be honest about them. not to mention, they'd have to acknowledge that many of the government's policies on healthcare go against one of the primary tenets of the constitution: to promote the general welfare of its citizens.

yes, let's celebrate the constitution--but, shh, don't let anyone point out what that really means.

do you need to rant about healthcare & the government, too? here's your chance:
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Dar said...

The best way to celebrate the Constitution is to elect the champion of the Constitution, Dr. Ron Paul.

student dr. blaze said...

Interesting. I'd never heard of him before. I looked him up--based on the website, it took me a while to figure out if he was running for congress again, or for president. Go figure.

I'm surprised that a physician running for president wouldn't have more statements on his views about healthcare.

The issues mentioned on his site are not quite those in which I'm interested (can somebody explain to me what exactly politicians mean when they say they want to reduce government? isn't that an oxymoron?). I'm not a member of his party, either, so...unless he ends up on the final ballot, I won't be able to consider him.

Interesting to look at one of the campaign sites, though. Haven't done much of that...yet. ;-)

kristina said...

Well, happy Constitution Day. Who knew?

Re: Ron Paul...he started out as a libertarian, and he wants to axe almost all of the departments of the US Government and end our membership in the United Nations from what I understand. However he's socially very liberal on almost all topics and has been against the war from the beginning. There are worse options, like electing a GW Bush clone.

Just exercising my right to free speech today, I suppose...

a little disclaimer...

i'm a medical student. just a student. so please, don't take anything i say too seriously. remember that i was an english literature major as an undergrad, so there is much fiction to be found in these pages. do you think i'm telling a story about you or your illness? more likely, you're tapping into my sense of "everyman"--that is, your story resonates with what i write here because it's not so uncommon after all. need help? please, please go see your physician. <--i'm not her. yet. ;-)