The 'Health for America' Initiative (Rep. Jim McDermott)

While solving America’s healthcare crisis may seem a daunting task, there is at least one step we can take immediately that will make a difference and help lay the foundation of a rock solid and stable affordable healthcare system. Today, the average medical student graduates well over $100,000 in debt. This crushing debt burden forces newly graduating doctors to make decisions based on debt service, not medical service. And, this paradigm drives up costs and drives down realistic alternatives like working in rural communities or inner cities.

We will never solve the health care crisis until we address the cost of the healthcare labor force. I offered a solution -- HR 1411, The United States Primary and Preventive Health Care Corps Act. My legislation would make it possible for medical students to receive up to four years of a tuition-free medical education in exchange for applying their primary care expertise in an underserved area following graduation. It would be a one-for-one exchange -- a year of paid tuition in exchange for a year of medical service in an underserved area upon graduation.

So many young doctors would dearly love to practice their idealism by practicing medicine in underserved parts of America. We can make it possible and in so doing take a step forward in addressing the needs of the American people by addressing the cost and access to health care in our country.