The stimulus bill has been all over the news. While I can't speak for the merits of the bill and its ability to rescue our ailing economy, I can report that health care has not been forgotten in the bill. The $790 billion economic stimulus package includes provisions for expanded health care coverage and allowances for health care IT. According to The Associated Press reports, the compromised stimulus bill includes "$21 billion to provide a 60% subsidy of healthcare insurance premiums for the unemployed under the COBRA program; $87 billion to help states with Medicaid, $19 billion to modernize health information technology systems; $10 billion for health research and construction of National Institutes of Health facilities." What does this mean for the Obama administration's efforts for health care reform?
Of course the health care provisions in the stimulus bill are not comprehensive. Greater access to health care and construction of health IT infrastructure are just part of the answer to better health care. For example, not mentioned in the stimulus bill are efforts to reform health education. As the next generation of health professionals, perhaps the greatest amount of change we can enact is right here on our home turf. Well, here's your chance to share your plan! The Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center and the MD Connector have partnered up to sponsor a health education reform essay contest that is open to all health professions students in the US and Canada. Over $10,000 in cash and prizes are being awarded in addition to the chance to present your plan at the 2009 Health Care Education Symposium in Rochester, MN. The submission deadline is March 16, 2009. Click here to find out more information about the competition.
To get those brain juices flowing, read this article by Parker Palmer called "A New Professional: The Aims of Education Revisited".