Should med school be free in Canada? - Macleans.ca

Should med school be free in Canada?

A solution to Canada’s doctor shortage?

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Could Canada’s health care crisis be solved by making medical school free?

An article in the New York Times argues that huge debts are part of the reason why many doctors pursue highly paid specialties rather than primary care. In other words, the high cost of med school is funneling new doctors away from the places we need them most—namely, as general practitioners.

According to the article, in addition to shifting more doctors into primary care, making medical school free would also attract more college graduates who are discouraged by the huge costs.

The article notes that there have been other attempts to shift doctors towards primary care. Here in Canada, Manitoba medical students can have their tuition fully paid if they agree to work in areas-in-need. It’s part of a strategy to help every Manitoban find a family doctor by 2015.

Of course, the article is focused on American medical schools, which charge more (and sometimes significantly more) tuition than their Canadian counterparts. On average, it’s $38,000 per year in the States for med school, while here in Canada it’s closer to $15,000. But it’s still an interesting idea.