Yesterday Jim McDermott introduced a bill aimed at making sure America has enough primary care doctors in the future. From his press release:
Modeled after the successful ROTC program, RDOCS offers full scholarships to medical students in exchange for a 5-year service commitment in a medically underserved area. RDOCS will be administered by the states, which will send RDOCS scholars to their state-operated medical schools. RDOCS officers (as they are known after graduation) will then become licensed and serve as primary-care doctors in their state of residence. The program is authorized to start immediately and begin graduating its first additional 4,000 new primary-care doctors in 2020, and 20,000 new doctors by 2024.
McDermott added, “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we are going to get close to universal health coverage in the United States. But universal coverage will not be meaningful if we don’t have enough doctors to serve our population. I am optimistic that Congress can demonstrate leadership in restoring our doctor workforce for the next generation.”
Fantastic. This is yet another way we’re going to have to make sure the Affordable Care Act works. We’re going to have to make sure there are enough doctors in the country. But, of course, the Republicans control the House of Representatives, so Joel Connelly isn’t sure about its ability to pass.
McDermott is a senior member of the tax-writing House Ways & Means Committee. When Democrats held a majority, he co-authored (with Republican Rep. Jerry Weller of Illinois) legislation that enacted a sweeping overhaul of foster care in America.
The fate of RDOCs, in a polarized House, is less certain. The House is spending less than one-third of 2012 in session.
Sure, that too. I don’t have anything like a whip count, but it seems like a worthy thing.