UI med students take proactive approach to politics

BY SAM LANE | NOVEMBER 30, 2009 7:20 AM

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As a future medical professional, Dustin Krutsinger thinks the government should play a limited role in health care.

This philosophy pushed him to create a new student organization working to spread the idea of a minimally regulated health-care system at a time when the U.S. government is working to add more intervention.

The group Medical Students for Liberty is in its first semester at the UI. Currently having five members, it was founded on four core principles: a constitutionally limited government, free markets, sound money, and non-interventionalist foreign policy.

Krutsinger, who adapted the principles from a larger national organization called Campaign for Liberty, said he wants the group to involve more medical students, who will be directly affected by potential health care reform.

“It’s very important for everyone to get involved,” said Krutsinger, a second-year medical school student in the UI Carver College of Medicine. “We’re trying to reach out to those around us.”

At the organization’s first meeting on Oct. 28, he gave a presentation about these principles, as well as upcoming local events in which perspective members could voice their opinions.

The organization is in favor of health-care reform, he said, just not the way it’s proposed by the Obama administration.

The House passed its version of health-care reform this month, and the Senate is set to debate the issue today.

Krutsinger said he believes the public sees only two options: major government overhaul or no change at all.

But he thinks there is a third option: reform within the private sector. The reliance on employers for coverage should be shifted to a free market in which individuals can shop independently for insurance.

Jacob Clearfield, a third-year medical student and a member of Medical Students for Liberty, said he joined because the group sparked his curiosity.

“This is a time when a lot of change is coming to health care,” he said. “It will affect our professional careers for the rest of our lives. These are still very important issues. This can help.”

Christopher Cooper, an associate dean for student affairs and curriculum in the medical school, sent Krutsinger a congratulatory e-mail upon the creation of the organization.

“It’s really important for students to be aware of what’s going on in health-care reform and politics,” Cooper said. “Physicians can become civic-minded leaders. We can offer exposure and training so medical students can become leaders in community, state, and national politics.”

Krutsinger said five more medical school students interested in the group have contacted him. The group’s next meeting will be today at 12:30 p.m. in 1143 Medical Education and Research Facility.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised about the interest,” Krutsinger said. “My hope is that the group continues after I leave.”

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