NEW YORK – AAPI’s Legislative Day will be held on April 12 on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. where dozens of U.S. lawmakers from both the major parties are expected to attend.
The President of AAPI Gautam Samadder said in a statement: “Our daytime program begins at 9:00 am and will include lunch on the Capitol in the Rayburn Building. We will conclude in the afternoon, giving participants the opportunity to meet their own Congressman on their own time. That evening, we are planning for a reception and dinner with several dignitaries at the Indian Embassy.”
Samadder mentioned how AAPI is a non-political umbrella organization which has nearly 90 local chapters, specialty societies and alumni organizations and represents the interests of over 60,000 physicians and 25,000 medical students and residents of Indian heritage in the United States.
“The mission AAPI, the largest ethnic organization of physicians, is to provide a forum to facilitate and enable Indian American physicians to excel at inpatient care, teaching and research, and to pursue their aspirations in professional and community affairs. The Executive Committee is working hard to ensure active participation of young physicians, increasing membership, and enabling AAPI’s voice to be heard in the corridors of power, and thus taking AAPI to new heights,” Samadder added.
Naresh Parikh, the President-Elect of AAPI stated in a press release that there are many issues affecting the community and an important debate is about the merits of doing away with the individual mandate.
“As Congress has now passed a repeal of this part of the Affordable Care Act, which takes place in 2019, what does this mean for the average physician practice if patients drop their health care coverage and how will this impact premiums?” he asks, in a press release.
“Now is the time to ensure our voices are heard on these vital issues. Additionally, those with good contacts with their own congressman, should reach out to his/her office and ask them to join us at our program in the Rayburn Building, banquet room B-338, between 10:30 am to 1:30 pm. If your congressman would like to speak, we can arrange their participation,” Ashok Jain, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, added.
Sampat Shivangi, the AAPI Legislative Co-Chair, pointed out the other initiatives that will be brought up in front of the Congress: “Lowering the Cost of Prescription Drugs; Immigration Reform: H-1 and J-1 visas are used by many Indian American physicians, playing an important role in providing critical health care across the country. Combined with the Green Card backlog consisting of more than 4 million people, AAPI members are very concerned about the impact immigration reform will have on the Indian American community.”
Samadder added Medicare and Medicaid Reimbursements to those initiatives saying “these programs have not kept up with the cost of care and the growing populations utilizing them. It is critical that Congress review reimbursement schedules; otherwise, patients may not be able to find a physician in their community who accepts Medicare and/or Medicaid patients.”
AAPI has been urging Congress to enact the Tort Reform as well in order to reduce the practice of defensive medicine, bring down the overall cost of health care and limit the number of meritless lawsuits.
AAPI also supports the federal and state legislation which place effective caps on non-economic damages, limits the use of joint-and-several liability, provides physicians with flexibility to negotiate settlements with medical insurers and further limits the statute of limitations for filing medical malpractice claims.
On the issue of physician shortage Jain pointed out that between the years 1980 and 2005, medical school enrollment remained flat as the U.S. population increased by more than 70 million people.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) predicts that America will need 90,000 physicians by 2020 and 130,000 by 2025 and one way to address the current shortage is to increase the class sizes at medical schools.