By: Ryan S. Karben  | 

Pre-Health Students Consider Clinton’s Health Plan (Vol. 59, Issue 3)

President Clinton’s Health Security proposal has elicited strong reactions from YC Pre-Med students, with opinions sharply divided between those who believe the program to be vital to the country’s health and those who view it as an assault on the medical profession.

When Clinton proposed the ambitious program in a September address to the nation, he challenged the Congress to “write a new chapter in the American story” by embracing his plan's proposals for managed competition, malpractice reformand paperwork reduction. Many students, however, are skeptical.

YC Sophomore Ben Levy says that no matter what Clinton says, “the plan is socialized medicine. And socialized medicine means socialized medical schools and debt for the rest of my life.”

YC Junior Yosef Helft believes that the plan is a prescription for disaster. “We simply can’t have the government control something that is one-seventh of our GNP. It just won't work.”

Under the Clinton plan, individuals would join regional health alliances that would negotiate with insurance companies for a package of maximum coverage at minimum cost. All Americans would be guaranteed coverage under the proposal and, Clinton argues, reduce the amount of emergency room care necessary and diminish incentives for “after-the-fact” treatment.

No legislation has been formally presented to Congress yet, but the plan’s architect, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, has been travelling across the country touting the merits of “health care that’s always there.” The Democratic National Committee plans to spend up to $3 million to generate public support for the legislation.

Some future doctors are already on board.

Senior Aryeh Ciment calls the plan “good for America” and hopes that its passage will end the current system which, he asserts, “caters to the upper classes.” Biology major Elie Needle agrees that “something radical needs to be done.”

While some students like Helft say the “best and brightest” will no longer go into medicine because of potentially smaller paychecks, YC Junior Michael Kupferman sees no reason to change his plans. “Doctors will always be able to make a fine living, but that’s not the reason to go into the field,” he said. “You do it because you want to. And if people back out because of bucks, well, they probably shouldn’t be doctors in the first place.”

Kupferman says he has been paying close attention to the health care debate because of his professional aspirations, but most pre-Med students seem content to let events take their course.

Sophomore Azriel Hirschfield is not worried. “I’m not really following the issue,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens.”