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What is H.R. 2042?
The purpose of this bill is to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a Frontline Providers Loan Repayment Program to pay off debts incurred by health professionals throughout their course of study. This repayment program will provide educational opportunities for students looking to become health professionals by diminishing the burden of student loan debt. Implementation of this bill will also provide incentives for healthcare professionals to work in Frontline Scarcity areas where many patients are not receiving the medical care they need.
What Medical Professionals are Covered?
Those in the field of general surgery, optometry, ophthalmology, chiropractic, physical therapy, audiology, speech language pathology, pharmacies, public health, podiatric medicine, dietetics, occupational therapy, general pediatrics, respiratory therapy, medical technology, otolaryngology, or radiologic technology.
Patients in Scarcity Areas
Scarcity areas are those areas considered to have a shortage of medical care providers such as those included in the bill. Patients in these areas are not receiving medical care they need to prevent diseases, increase quality of life, and even life saving care because of such shortages in medical providers. As more Americans become covered by health insurance, the demands for these health services have increased to a demand that is not being covered in many rural areas, This bill provides an incentive for health professionals to work in areas with shortages of quality medical care.
Students and Health Professionals
Past and future students may have to pass on or discontinue their education based on high education costs and the reality of graduating in significant debt. Some of the medical providers included in this bill continue to need more education than previous years which has increased the time spent in school and money spent on tuition, living costs, and educational tools. This may drastically lead to a decrease the amount of students having the ability to enroll in these programs, contributing further to the lack of medical professionals in scarcity areas. With implementation of this bill, students will not have to pass on education in the fields they love due to tuition and other educational costs if they are given the opportunity to earn work wages and student loan repayments simultaneously.
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