Leaders and members of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) brought to the fore some of the major concerns of the Indian American community, particularly those affecting physicians and their patients, during AAPI’s Legislative Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 30.
Attended by several leading congressmen and women from both the major political parties, the event held at the Rayburn House Office Building highlighted key issues affecting physicians and the country in general. House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer; Rep. Ami Bera; Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; Rep. Joe Wilson; and Rep. Frank Pallone were among several lawmakers who addressed the AAPI delegates and promised support.
A “White Paper” outlining some of AAPI’s concerns were submitted to the lawmakers who addressed the delegates including: Increased Residency Slots, Immigration Reform, Medicare and Medicaid Reimbursements, Tort Reform, Repeal of the Individual Mandate, Lowering the Cost of Prescription Drugs, and, The South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act of 2017.
In his welcoming remarks, AAPI president Dr Naresh Parikh stressed the importance of young physicians who are the “future of AAPI.” He highlighted the efforts of the current team under his leadership “to make AAPI financially sound and stable for the years to come.”
"We are pleased with the enormous turnout of both AAPI members and the showing of bipartisan members of Congress at this year's Legislative Day," said Parikh.
"This immensely successful event, including our partnership with the Indian Embassy, has showcased AAPI's relationship building and maintaining ties with our elected officials," said AAPI Legislative co-chair Dr. Sampat Shivangi. He emphasized “AAPI contributions in issues like lowering drug costs, strong advocacy on immigration reforms, especially for physicians working in rural areas of the U.S. and their long decades of waiting in acquiring Green Cards.”
Shivangi highlighted the “many important issues that were discussed at the event, including the need to increase residency slots and Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement issues.
In his keynote address, Indian Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla praised AAPI’s lobbying efforts on some of the issues affecting the broader Indian American community and other immigrant groups as a testament to its growth and reach. "I believe all of you will have an important role to play in contributing to this. All of you in a sense are permanent ambassadors here. You have an understanding of the U.S. You have an understanding of India and Indian society. So, based on this understanding and the network that you have you will be in a position to take forward this relationship in different areas," the Indian envoy said.
The bipartisan members of Congress discussed ways to reform health care delivery, to ensure its cost-effectiveness, and the negative effects of defensive medicine, which has driven up the cost of health care. AAPI members told the gathering of both Republican and Democratic congressmen how important it was to increase the number of residency positions to address the upcoming physician shortage.