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Rep. Bera and Meadows introduce bipartisan legislation to address doctor shortag

Today, Rep. Ami Bera introduced bipartisan legislation with his colleague Rep. Mark Meadows to allow international doctors to remain in the U.S. longer than their visas initially permitted if they agree to practice in underserved areas of the country that are in dire need of more doctors. 

The Association of American Medical Colleges projects there will be a shortage of 63,000 doctors by 2015 and more than 130,000 by 2025. The Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Act will help address that shortage.

“As a doctor myself, I know this legislation is going to help deal with an immense need for more doctors in this country,” said Bera. “America’s strength has always been built on our ability to attract the best and the brightest people from around the world to innovate and help us here in the U.S. This bill is simply common-sense and, I will work to make sure it’s part of any comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced in the House.”

“As we look for real immigration solutions, this legislation is a positive step in reforming the visa process,” Meadows said. “I am pleased to join my colleague, Rep. Bera, in this bipartisan effort to ensure talented doctors have the opportunity to serve in areas of our nation where they are needed most.” 

Under current law, most international physicians who are trained in the U.S. on J-1 visas must return to their home country for two years after their residency ends before they can apply for a new visa or a green card. But under the Conrad 30 program, these doctors can stay in the country without returning home if they agree to practice in an underserved area for three years.

The “30” refers to the number of doctors allowed per state to participate in the program. Bera and Medows’ legislation would increase the number of visas allowed per state, remove the program’s expiration date, improve its functioning, and allow it to expand its scope to better meet the needs of the country

Originally introduced in the Senate by Senators Klobuchar, Heitkamp, Moran, and Collins, the measure is also included in the current comprehensive immigration reform package being debated by the Senate.

Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. represents Sacramento County. Born and raised in California, Bera is a physician and the only Indian American currently serving in Congress. He’s fighting to rebuild an economy that works for middle class families and to reduce our country’s debt in a responsible way. One of Bera’s first acts in Congress was to help lead the effort to pass the No Budget No Pay Act, which says if members of Congress don’t pass a budget, they don’t get paid. As a co-chair of No Labels' Problem Solvers, he’s working with people from both parties to find bipartisan solutions to our nation’s challenges. He and his wife Janine live in Elk Grove with their daughter Sydra. 

For more updates on Rep. Bera follow @RepBera on Twitter, like Congressman Bera on Facebook, or visit