Cuba's free med schools are the meritocratic institutions that America's private system can't match

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One of the most important things Obamacare should have done was increased US medical school capacity - we won’t be able to manage costs and simultaneously increase medical care to people who weren’t getting enough unless we’ve got more doctors and nurses.


My understanding is that the bottleneck isn’t so much the medical schools (new ones are opening, existing schools are expanding class sizes), but the residency programs that follow med school. Supposedly the number of residency positions hasn’t grown significantly since the 90s according to some AMA video I saw a couple years ago. That video placed the blame entirely on Congress for not increasing funding, but I’m sure it’s more complicated than that.


We need to get insurance companies and evangelicals out of health care.


This is an important story, one that is (and needs to be) retold every year.
I have met med students who had no idea that this was even an option until it was way too late in their academic career. I have also met students who were simply too poor for med school.


Removing barriers to education is probably the best long term investment you can make. When I started college it was free, then slowly but surely they started layering on additional fees, I’m fairly sure they will bring in student loans in the next few years and jack up the costs again. It will be 10 or 20 years before its obvious just how stupid a move that is.


Some of the bottleneck could also be relieved by giving advance practice nurses the legal standing to work without having to be supervised by a physician. As of now this is an issue decided by each state, as liscences are granted by States, and I guess there is nothing obamacare could have done about that…so I’m slightly OT. I mean I guess they could have offered longer funding to States with independent practice laws. Dunno, I guess they really didn’t need one more controversy when trying to pass the act. Wishful thinking.


Invisible hand. Come on! You’re just going to ignore the lousy regulatory environment in the USA just cause it suits your worldview?

I also think that singing the praises of the medical education system without pointing out the vampire regime in Cuba that makes it possible is an example of ideological tunnel vision.

The problems we all face are only worsened by these distortions authored by ideologues.

It’s not the lousy regulatory environment that dictates the kind and cost of med schools we have. In fact there is very little actual regulation that goes into medical schools that is directly related to the various regimes in the medical system. In the US, they’re not even required to have accounting transparency. They’re accredited by private non-profits. No government involvement beyond student loans.

Or maybe we’re discussing one part of Cuba, and a part that seems to work surprisingly well. It’s like arguing that you can’t talk about the relative quality of sweet crude from Saudi Arabia because they have a repressive regime.


Your comparison fails because the free nature of the education is a direct result of the system that governs Cuba. The quality of the oil in Saudi Arabia is a result of natural forces unrelated to the type of regime in charge.

That medical school is government run and paid-for at no charge to the student is not unique to Cuba. Not even close. Example? Saudi Arabia. And their medical schools don’t match Cuba’s. I hate to impose logic on you, but occasionally bad systems yield isolated good results that are not inextricably woven into the fabric of the system and are replicable elsewhere. Next you’ll be telling me that a stopped clock is wrong at all hours of the day. You insisting that it’s somehow a unique and special product of Cuba’s regime doesn’t seem to be based on any actual knowledge of how med school works there (or as you’ve already demonstrated, here) but rather you seem to really want to believe it because… what was it? Oh yeah,

Believe whatever you want to, just don’t expect respect for it when it’s founded on nothing but presumptions and a lack of basic knowledge of what you’re talking about.


Care to elaborate? What kind of vampires are we talking about here?


I think he means this…


Or just stop supporting the parasitic insurance companies and buying overpriced brand-name drugs


If that shut down were in sports, the gif would live on forever!


Many people may not realize that there is a similar “socialist” medical school with free tuition in the US – the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. As the name suggests, it is associated with the uniformed services. What you might not know is that means more than just the military – it is also the school of the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.


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@doctorow, if you advocate that American med students attend Cuban med school for free and then return to America, you are advocating harm to the Cuban people. They, after all, are the ones paying for the schooling, but you’re saying they should pay for the schooling of doctors who have no intent to practice in Cuba and will instead go to rural Ohio or inner city Atlanta or something.

It’s of a piece with your recent post on Japanese pensions, where you said that immigration from other countries could help solve the problem of Japan having a declining young population paying for an increasingly old population: you want to harness the institutions of developing countries (free Cuban med school for Americans, importing the best and brightest from developing nations to Japan) to solve the problems of developed nations.

It’s just another form of colonialism.

I can’t find where he said Cuba should pay for doctors who don’t intend to practice medicine in Cuba.

The argument is that the U.S. be more open to what can be learned from how Cuba educates medical professionals.


Cuba has chosen to do this of their own accord. Their health system is world class and they train doctors from many other countries, especially Latin America. some countries have notions of helping outside their borders. And inside their borders. America would be in better shape if they copied the Cuban models of health and education.