from ASDA
Advocacy Event Spotlight

The 2018 election season was an exciting time! With optimistic candidates eager to toss their hats into races in hopes of making a difference, students at Louisiana got informed and got out the vote! It was their primary advocacy initiative to get students to the polls. 

A voter registration drive was held early in November so that students would have better access to the booths. To motivate classmates and highlight how dental colleagues are making a difference, Will Cavell, Louisiana '20 wrote an informative blog post on all dentists seeking a spot in Congress. In the weeks leading up to the midterms, the chapter decided to house the Molar Bear in conjunction with election week to garner student participation in the election. Students made a video starring the Molar Bear encouraging classmates to get out to the polls. The video was submitted for the Populist Chapter Challenge on social media. Although it did not attain the most likes, Louisiana was proudly recognized as honorable mention for creativity.

While this isn't an election year, the Molar Bear will still be celebrating Advocacy Month in November. Keep an eye out for forthcoming information on how to sign up to host the bear.

Have additional questions about this event? Contact the Council on Advocacy.
Advocacy Certificate Program
Advocacy is vital to protect the rights and advance the interests of dental students. ASDA's Advocacy Certificate Program encourages members to engage in initiatives throughout the year. The top point earners as of Friday, July 26 are highlighted below. Make sure you submit your points for a chance to be recognized in future Advocacy Briefs. 

ASDA members must earn at least eight points by Friday, Jan. 31, 2020 to earn the official certificate and special lapel pin. Each advocacy initiative has been assigned a point value. Please visit our website to learn about activities that qualify for points.
LGN Special Event Grant application closing Sept. 6
The application for ASDA's Legislative Grassroots Network Event Grant closes Sept. 6. This grant encourages any and all advocacy events, from coordinating a lunch and learn to implementing an advocacy academy. A maximum of $500 will be awarded per grant submission, and up to six grants will be awarded. 

Applications are due by Sept. 6, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. CDT. Submit your application here. Connect with your chapter's legislative liaison to see how this grant could enhance your advocacy programming. Contact Robin Lieberman, executive assistant, with questions about the application.
from the States
Alaska takes steps to restore adult dental benefits

Governor Mike Dunleavy vetoed $50 million from the state's Medicaid budget in early July. Nearly $30 million of those cuts remove dental benefits for adults. It was reported that those cuts affect approximately 30,000 Alaskans.

In response to the Governor's vetoes, the budget-writing committee crafted legislation to reinstate some of the benefits, including the adult dental benefit. The Alaskan House Finance Committee approved the bill, which will now go to the floor of the House for consideration.

Why is it important?

Many states have adopted or are considering Medicaid expansion that include dental benefits. ASDA supports evidence-based measures that are efficacious and sustainable in reducing barriers to care, which includes Medicaid expansion.
from Washington
ASDA takes action on the Bipartisan Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act

What's the issue?

Many children are born with severe oral and facial defects such as cleft lip or palate that can interfere with their ability to function. Unfortunately, many insurance companies consider these procedures to be cosmetic, may only cover preliminary surgeries or may deny follow-up corrective measures. The Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act ( S. 560/H.R. 1379) would require private group and individual health insurance plans to cover the medically necessary services to correct these anomalies so children can breathe, speak and eat normally. The bill specifically exempts cosmetic surgeries.

Why is it important?

In April, nearly 500 dental students attended the ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day and championed this bill. Due in part to their efforts, nearly 200 Democratic and Republican congresspeople have cosponsored. All ASDA members have the opportunity to continue building support for this Act.

ASDA supports evidence-based measures that are efficacious and sustainable in reducing barriers to care in underserved communities. ELSA aligns with ASDA policy to ensure children with severe oral and facial defects have access to the treatment they need.

Next Step

Use ASDA's pre-drafted letter to write to your congresspeople about ELSA. Nearly 200 congresspeople have signed onto the Act. Make sure you check the Senator and Representative cosponsor lists to see if your congresspeople have already signed on.
ASDA supports measures for a diverse healthcare workforce 

What's the issue?

In June, the House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6). This legislation prohibits removal proceedings against certain aliens and provides such aliens with a path toward permanent resident status. Related to dental students, the act repeals a restriction that bars states from providing higher education benefits to undocumented aliens unless those benefits are available to all U.S. citizen.

Similar to H.R. 6, the Dream Act of 2019 (S. 874) was introduced to the Senate in March and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. H.R. 6 and S. 874 would ensure that members of the health care workforce approved for Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals and other undocumented young people can continue their employment, education, training and research in health professions. 

If granted a legal pathway to citizenship, these undocumented Americans who came to the U.S. as children will be able to contribute to a diverse and culturally responsive healthcare workforce.

Why is it important?

During the 2019 House of Delegates, ASDA members affirmed their support for the recruitment of an applicant pool that represents a diverse population by adopting the A-15 Applicant Equity policy. The policy also encourages dental school admissions agencies to give equal consideration to undocumented students who intend to seek legal permanent status.

Next Steps

Read the letter and more about H.R. 6 and S. 874.
Non-covered services bill is introduced

What's the issue?

Insurance companies are currently able to set fees for non-covered dental services. In other words, dental benefit carriers can determine the fees dentists charge patients for services the company doesn't cover. Dentists have the expertise to establish prices in their practices fees set by insurance companies could cause an unnecessary hardship for dentists when managing patients.

The Dental and Optometric Care Access Act (H.R. 3762, DOC Access Act) was introduced in July by Rep. Loebsack of Iowa. The Act is supported by both Democrats and Republicans.

Why is it important?

Thirty nine states have passed legislation prohibiting dental plans from setting fees for services in which the carrier doesn't assume liability. Federal legislation is needed to ensure state and federal insurance companies play by the same rules.

In 2018, more than 1,000 dental professionals advocated for this bill at the ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day. It is important for ASDA to continue monitoring the progress of this Act as it could positively benefit your future patients.
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.