ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day Update 

More than 500 dental students attended ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day on April 8-10, in Washington, D.C. Students joined with dentists to receive issue-specific training and learn how to effectively lobby legislators. The meeting served as a perfect opportunity to network with current and future colleagues in each state. 

Congratulations to Kate McPherson, North Carolina '20, on being named the 2018 National Legislative Liaison of the Year. This award honors an outstanding legislative liaison for motivating and organizing advocacy events at the chapter. It was given during the awards breakfast on Tuesday, where both ADPAC and ASDA recognized advocacy achievements.
Issues Update

During their meetings with lawmakers, attendees urged Congress to address the following issues:
  • Student Loan Programs and the Higher Education Act: Attendees urged members of Congress to include principles important to dental students and new graduates when considering the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Among the considerations, students advocated for preserving public loan forgiveness programs and extending the period of deferment for repaying loans. 
  • Action for Dental Health Act:  The bill allows organizations to qualify for oral health grants administered by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These grants would enable organizations to provide dental services to underserved populations. Thanks in part to ASDA's efforts, the Action for Dental Health Act passed the House of Representatives. A companion bill in the Senate is expected to be introduced by Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Attendees encouraged senators to co-sponsor the bill when it is introduced. 
  • Opioids: There are more than 130 bills in Congress addressing the opioid crisis. ASDA and the ADA lobbied for elements they believe are important to include in comprehensive bipartisan legislation. These included prescribing limits for acute pain and improving drug-monitoring programs. 
  • Dental and Optometric Care Access Act of 2017 or "DOC Access Act": The bill prohibits "non-covered services" provisions in dental and vision plans. Attendees advocated for members of the House of Representatives to co-sponsor this bill. 

  • McCarran-Ferguson repeal for health insurance: This bill would authorize the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice to enforce the full range of anti-trust laws against health insurance companies engaged in anticompetitive conduct. This bill passed the House of Representatives last year. Attendees encouraged senators to co-sponsor the bill when it is introduced in the Senate. 
Next Steps: 
from ASDA
Ask your representatives to support student loan deferment

This bill addresses one of the higher education principles students advocated for during Lobby Day. It allows new borrowers in medical and dental residencies to defer payments until completion of their program and enables borrowers to refinance their student loan interest rates to the 1-year Treasury note rate, plus one percent, throughout the lifetime of the loan.
Don't let the momentum of ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day stop here. Contact your representatives, and encourage them to co-sponsor this bill today. Engage, ASDA's advocacy alert system, includes a pre-drafted letter you can send.

If you attended ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day, let your representative know. In the letter, include the name of the person you met with and reiterate the personal story you shared when discussing student debt.

Ex: When I met with your legislative aide, Jane Smith, on April 10, I shared with her how important this bill is to me since I will be starting my GPR program in July.

If you didn't attend Lobby Day, this is your chance to take action. During meetings, students shared that they were lobbying on behalf of the American Student Dental Association which represents 22,000 dental students. It is time to show Washington the full strength of ASDA membership by reaching out to your lawmaker today.

Earn your first ASDA advocacy certificate  

If you attended the 2018 ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day you're one point closer to earning the ASDA Advocacy Certificate. 

The Certificate Program helps students become lifelong advocates. You can participate in the inaugural year of the ASDA Advocacy Certificate Program! Students earn points by taking part in advocacy initiatives and then submitting their final score sheets by February 1, 2019.

from the states
Maryland bill creates pilot program for dental benefits under Medicaid

What's the issue?
The Maryland House of Delegates is considering a bill that will extend dental benefits under Medicaid. An initial bill recommended adding dental benefits to all adults participating in Medicaid. However, due to cost concerns the bill was amended to create a pilot program that is narrower in scope. The pilot program will focus on providing important dental procedures to patients that are at a higher risk for dental disease, like patients with diabetes.

Why is this important?
If passed, this bill would be the first step to providing dental benefits to all adults participating in Medicaid. When speaking about this issue with lawmakers, it is important to highlight that investing money for adult dental benefits in Medicaid could result in much larger savings in hospital costs.

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.