National Dental Student Lobby Day - April 11-12, 2016
Want to get more involved in advocacy and learn about the issues that are important to ASDA and the profession? Register for National Dental Student Lobby Day by March 21. You'll be trained on the key issues and how to best represent ASDA's position on them. You'll also have dedicated time to meet with members of Congress and their staff. Plan to join your fellow students in Washington, D.C., for this informative event.

Engage Update
Since Friday, Jan. 29, Massachusetts dental students sent 55 letters to their legislators asking them to oppose S. 2076. This bill would establish a dental hygiene practitioner level of practice in Massachusetts. To learn more about this legislation, read the 2016 January issue of Advocacy Brief.
from Washington
President Obama vetoes ACA repeal

What's the issue?
On Jan. 8, President Barack Obama vetoed H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015. This bill would have repealed key parts of the Affordable Care Act. Below were some of the initiatives included within the bill:
  • Restrict the federal government from operating health care exchanges
  • Phase out funding for subsidies to help lower-income populations afford health insurance
  • Eliminate tax penalties for people who didn't purchase health insurance
  • Eliminate the medical device tax
  • Phase out an expansion of Medicaid over a two-year period
Why is this important?
It is important to be aware of potential changes to the health care system. ASDA continues to advocate for the repeal of the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices. The association believes the cost of this tax gets passed on to the patient in the form of higher fees for service.

Next steps:

from the states
Resolution to study student debt forgiveness in Indiana

What's the issue?
On Jan. 5, State Senator Jean Leising sponsored SR 7. The resolution requests that the appropriate council study student debt forgiveness for dental and medical students who are willing to practice in underserved areas. The resolution notes the growing need for health care providers in rural and poverty-stricken areas, as well as the growing debt of dental and medical students upon graduation, as reasons to study to student debt forgiveness.

On Jan. 28, SR 7 was reported favorably out of the Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services.

Why is this important?
According to ASDA's F-4 policy, the association supports legislation that establishes loan forgiveness of tuition for dental students and residents practicing in underserved areas after graduation.

A resolution to study this issue could lead to legislation that creates student debt forgiveness opportunities for dental and medical students willing to practice in underserved areas in Indiana.

Next step:

Alabama plan to reduce barriers to care in rural areas

What's the issue?
On Feb. 2, Gov. Robert Bentley released his 2015-19 Strategic Plan. The document addresses Bentley's agenda priorities for the 2015-19 term which include increasing the number of health professionals in rural areas. To achieve this objective, Bentley proposes the following:
  • Create or expand loan repayment programs for dentists and doctors who practice a certain amount of time in specifically defined low-access areas within the state.
  • Encourage the legislature to pass state and federal tax credits for health care professionals that are willing to practice in rural areas.
  • Help Alabama hospitals create twelve residency programs for medical school graduates.
  • Work with Alabama hospitals and local communities to determine ways to increase the use of telemedicine.
  • Create a study group to evaluate opportunities to reduce the risk of liability for health care providers practicing in poorly equipped environments in underserved areas.
Why is this important?
Access to care for underserved populations is a major issue in most states. With this proposal, Alabama recognizes that there isn't just one solution that will solve this complex problem; it will take several different approaches to address this issue. It is important to keep these different approaches in mind when speaking with your legislators about reducing barriers to care within your state.

Next step:

Advocacy Brief shares news about ongoing issues and legislation that are of interest to dental students and organized dentistry. Inclusion of items does not imply their adherence to ASDA policy.
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