Washington: The Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) welcomed the passage by the US House of a bill that would reformulate how physicians are reimbursed for Medicare, a government health insurance for seniors over 65.
If approved by the Senate, the legislation would repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula currently in use. The SGR formula places a cap on spending for physicians services.
"We are extremely delighted and grateful to the US Congress for passing this historic measure," said AAPI President Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar urging the US Senate to take up the bill and pass it without delay.
Members of AAPI, the largest ethnic organization of physicians, representing over 100,000 physicians, fellows and students of Indian origin in the US, has been lobbying for the repeal of SGR formula for years.
The passage of SGR bill came March 26 as AAPI was holding its Legislative Day on Capitol Hill to advocate and raise their voices for the larger physician community in the US, according to a media release.
In her keynote address Assistant Secretary of State, Nisha Desai Biswal, the Obama administration's point person for South Asia, praised the Indian American physicians and the broader diaspora community for their role in fostering India-US partnership.
"AAPI has been a tremendous organization for what you do here in the United States and for what you do in India and for what you do to improve and extend the US-India relationship," she said.
She acknowledged that, AAPI was one of the first Indian groups to recognize the need for outreach on the Hill.
Underscoring the tremendous contributions of the Indian American physician community in delivering the healthcare in the US, several US lawmakers praised them for their hard work, commitment to patients and their constant efforts to make health care affordable, accessible and efficient for everyone in the US.
Ami Bera, the lone Indian American physician in the US Congress, shared his own personal experience of growing up to be a physician and how he got elected in a district that has only 1 percent Indian Americans.
"My story is your story and our story is that of the entire nation," he said. "I want my legacy to be how the generation is going to take us all to the next level and have many more Indian Americans get elected to the Congress," he added.
"AAPI has once again succeeded in bringing to the forefront the many important health care issues facing the physician community and raising our voice unitedly before the US Congress members," said Jahagirdar.