The material in front of me seems incomprehensible: glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide, uridine 5-diphospho-glucuronosyltransferase, and, my personal favorite, unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia. Only halfway through my first year of medical school, I am expected to speak a language that few understand and fewer want to hear. To talk the talk, I sit at my desk for hours each night, staring at textbooks that rob me of seeing old friends or exploring the city around me. Despite the fact that my twenties are slowly drifting away, the complexities of the human body are the least of my concerns.
In February, my classmates and I completed our Health Care Policy course: the only time in our medical education when we formally study the labyrinth of our current health care system. We heard about the differences between copayments and coinsurance, HMOs and ACOs, adverse selection and moral hazard. Our course directors brought renowned experts to campus and, on our final exam, asked us to address the nuances of malpractice reform.