July 24, 2012
And I thought things were bad for recent college grads with outstanding debt (average for undergrads about $25,000). Now comes a great article from the Seattle Times by Suzanne Monson about an ophthalmology resident, Dr. Sharel Ongchin. She appears to be a brilliant physician carrying $240,000 in debt with an interest rate of 4.9% — the annual interest payments alone would total $11,760. The article provides this important information:
… One recent study by the American Association of Medical Colleges shows that more than 86 percent of med-school graduates have debt; the average 2010 debt for newly graduated docs was $158,000.
In fact, the AAMC reports that the cost of private medical schools rose 165 percent while public med-school costs soared 312 percent over the past 20 years. Figures from the American Medical Association show that these costs far outpace the rate of inflation.
These are staggering facts. Specialists like Dr. Ongchin probably, as she does, have a higher level of indebtedness on average. When one considers the uncertainty that Obamacare has cast over the healthcare industry, one has to wonder who would be willing to assume this debt risk to attend med school and then work under government-mandated wage controls.