Senate hopeful woos South Asians | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Senate hopeful woos South Asians

PTI | ByIndo-Asian News Service, Oak Brook (illinois)
Sep 21, 2004 08:03 PM IST

Barack Obama, the Senate hopeful, says South Asian Americans and "we share the same values".

Barack Obama, the Senate hopeful who has become a political star after his speech at the Democratic convention, says South Asian Americans and "we share the same values".

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HT Image

"We are in a good position, thanks to the support from the South Asian community," he said adding, "We share the same set of values."

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"We have made tremendous strides politically in the last 18 months," he said. "There was a time when many people said, 'He (Obama) has no organisation, no money and we cannot even pronounce his name'."

Obama was addressing a select group of South Asian American community and business leaders at a fundraising dinner held at the home of physician Vipul Aurora.

"There is a common set of values all of us share, which includes the desire that our children should get high quality education," said Obama, who is from Illinois.

Many of the physicians present at the event asked Obama to focus on the problems plaguing the medical community, which included high insurance premiums caused by a rash of malpractice suits.

One physician noted that many doctors were either giving up their practice or moving out of Illinois. Two specialties were the most affected - gynecology and neurosurgery, he said.

"We will have a serious conversation about the problems of medical providers," Obama assured him. "The primary villains of the medical community are the trial lawyers. The crisis is real - we cannot afford to have doctors moving out of Illinois."

"Given their utility to society, I would choose doctors over lawyers every time," Obama said. "I say this as an attorney. The economics of medicine has got much worse over the past two decades."

Obama said he would meet with representatives of physicians, insurance companies and drug companies, after his election to try to resolve the issues.

"We must also look at a strategy to reduce medical errors and a different way of structuring medical insurance."

Aurora urged Obama to take a sympathetic view of physicians' problems. "My malpractice premium is likely to hit $150,000 a year. I cannot afford to pay it," he said. "The physician's primary concern is to serve the patient. He does not go to work saying 'I am going to harm my patient.' It is always an honest error," he said.

Naveed Musharraf, a Pakistani American physician who is the brother of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, told Obama: "I am going to vote for you. You remind of Martin Luther King's dream and his advice, 'You don't judge a man by his colour, but by the strength of his character'. You have the same idealism of President John F. Kennedy."

Obama arrived late at the event, because of a preceding engagement, which provoked Aurora to quip, "You have adhered to Indian Standard Time," to which Obama responded, "We call it coloured people's time!"

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