Free medical school tuition unlikely to have a major impact on the U.S. health care system

Most of Johns Hopkins University’s medical school students will have free tuition starting this fall, thanks to a $1 billion gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, a longtime donor of the university, whose school of public health is named after Michael Bloomberg. The largesse is striking, but, even combined with other recent moves to relieve future doctors of crushing medical debt, the move may not reverberate to bring improvements to the broader health care system, experts say.

According to the announcement, part of the gift will go toward increased tuition aid for health care students other than future doctors, such as public health and nursing. For future doctors attending the school, the impact will be more significant. All medical students from households earning under $300,000 a year will qualify for free tuition, and students from households earning less than $175,000 a year can have fees and living expenses paid for. Nearly two-thirds of currently enrolled students will enjoy one or both of these benefits. 

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