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AAPI Sends Letter on Debt Ceiling Talks to President Obama, House/Senate Leaders

Jul 30, 2011


AAPI Sends Letter on Debt Ceiling Talks to President Obama, House/Senate Leaders

Washington, D.C. – The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin sent a letter to President Barack Obama and congressional leaders regarding cuts to health care during the debt ceiling negotiations.

“We share the same concerns as everyday Americans when it comes to our national debt," said AAPI president Dr. Sunita Kanumury. "American families live within their means and so must our government. While cutting spending is a must, our leaders must be aware of the consequences of cuts to health care. We cannot increase the Medicare and Medicaid patient load on physicians while simultaneously cutting their reimbursements to treat those very patients. We are still waiting for Congress to pass tort reform and a permanent fix to the Medicare SGR.

"We cannot wait any longer for the clarity and certainty we need for our medical practices. We only want what’s best for our patients and hope that the President and congressional leaders will make the right choice for physicians and patients during this critical time.”

The attached letter was sent to the White House and congressional leaders in the House and Senate. It was signed by AAPI President Dr. Sunita Kanumury, AAPI YPS President Dr. Vinita Bhagia and AAPI MSRF President Dr. Avni Shah. The letter is also reproduced below.


July 26, 2011

President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama,

As the ongoing debt ceiling talks continue, we urge you to take special care in negotiating savings in the health care arena.
As physicians, medical students, residents and fellows, we see the growing demands placed on our profession every day. As students, we face daily demands as we begin our lifelong training and education to become physicians. As residents and fellows, we endure years of medical residency, research and training while trying to pay back student loans, earning modest salaries while managing increased costs of living.

As physicians, we face continuing demands on our time while financial liabilities and overhead costs continue to increase. Many states have yet to pass meaningful tort reform measures nor has the Congress acted to pass such legislation. Without any congressional action to provide a permanent fix to the Medicare sustainable growth rate formula, Medicare reimbursements to physicians will be cut by 30 percent on January 1, 2012. At the same time, the Affordable Care Act seeks to add at least 16 million patients to Medicaid and provide health care insurance to an additional 30 million currently uninsured patients. While these are laudable measures, we must not overlook the painful reality facing today’s physician: how can the government increase the patient population covered under Medicare and Medicaid and simultaneously reduce physician reimbursements to treat these very same patients?

While AAPI supports providing health care insurance to all patients in the United States, our elected leaders must be cognizant of the realities facing today’s modern physician. Overburdened, heavily regulated, and sometimes criticized in the media while continually staving off lawsuits, today’s physician looks nothing like the physician of a generation ago. Yet, our passion for medicine and our patients make us persevere while these trying budgetary constraints continue.

We need your continued leadership to ensure that the mandates passed by Congress are properly funded so we as physicians can do what we’re trained to do best – provide quality health care to our patients.

We urge you to avoid further cuts to Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, and instead, properly account for current and future expenditures in these programs taking into account the increased patient population we face in the years ahead.

Now is the time that we respectfully request that you stand with America’s physicians.

Yours truly,

Dr. Sunita Kanumury
AAPI President

Dr. Vinita Bhagia, MD
AAPI Young Physicians Section (YPS)

Dr. Avni Shah, MD
AAPI Medical Students, Residents & Fellows (MSRF)

cc: The Honorable John Boehner – House Speaker
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi – House Democratic Leader
The Honorable Eric Cantor – House Majority Leader
The Honorable Steny Hoyer – House Democratic Whip
The Honorable Jeb Hensarling – House Republican Conference Chairman
The Honorable Jim Clyburn – House Assistant Democratic Leader
The Honorable Tom Price, MD – House Republican Policy Committee Chairman
The Honorable John Larson – House Democratic Caucus Chairman