from ASDA
2019 ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day: it's a wrap

ASDA and the American Dental Association recently joined forces to advocate for the profession in Washington D.C. In April, more than 1,000 dental students and dentists supported principles to alleviate the student debt burden, promoted the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act and championed the repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act

Several cosponsors have added their support to these bills since Lobby Day. Eleven House members signed onto the Resident Education and Deferred Interest Act (REDI) and eight House members added their support to the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act. Help keep up the momentum by sending letters to your congress people for the REDI Act , the Student Loan Refinancing Act and the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act . ASDA's action alert system, Engage, has pre-filled emails you can easily modify and send to your legislators.

ASDA honors the 2018-19 National Legislative Liaison of the Year at Lobby Day  
Ambika Srivastava, Mississippi '20, was recognized as ASDA's National Legislative Liaison of the Year for her accomplishments in advocacy at the chapter level. Each 2018-19 Council on Advocacy Legislative Coordinator nominated a legislative liaison from their region for the award. These Legislative Liaisons exemplify leadership and are passionate about promoting advocacy efforts. Ambika was selected as the National Legislative Liaison for her outstanding advocacy achievements, like spearheading several first-year events at her chapter and executing lunch and learns. Congratulations, Ambika! 
ASDA collaborates with the dental community  
ASDA signed onto two coalition letters in recent weeks in support of bills that could impact patients: The United States-Mexico Tourism Improvement Act (H.R. 951) and The Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2019 (S. 692/H.R. 2207).

The United States-Mexico Tourism Improvement Act expands the tourism industries in the United States and Mexico by emphasizing exchanges in various sectors, including dental care. Students in Border States may find this bill important to ensure that patients receive a continuous standard of dental care in Mexico. The letter received support from eleven organizations and advocates for dental schools in Mexico to be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation . 

ASDA joined 13 organizations in support of the Protect Medical Innovation Act, which would permanently repeal the 2.3% excise tax on medical devices. This tax is scheduled to take effect in 2019 and there is concern the tax will adversely impact patient care and cost. Manufacturers subject to the tax would seem to have no choice but to offset the new costs by increasing their prices of dental materials, supplies and equipment. This hike in prices would likely result in higher fees for patients. 
Advocacy Certificate Program
Did you attend the ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day or participate at a chapter advocacy event in April? If so, you're closer to earning ASDA's Advocacy Certificate.  

The Certificate Program helps students become lifelong advocates. ASDA members earn points by taking part in advocacy initiatives and submitting at least 8 points by Jan. 31, 2020. Start submitting your points today! Students that meet the criteria will receive a certificate and an ASDA advocacy lapel pin.

Learn more about the certificate program. Contact Robin Lieberman, executive assistant, with questions.  
from Washington
House proposes funding increase for NIH

What's the issue?

On Monday, April 29, the House Appropriations Committee released a draft of the 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies funding bill. The bill includes an overall increase in spending of $11.7 billion over 2019. Specifically the Committee proposes a $2 billion increase to National Institutes of Health (NIH) spending. 

Why is this important? 

The House Appropriations funding bill is in contrast to President Trump's 2020 budget proposal. As discussed in the April issue of Advocacy Brief, the Trump administration would like to cut NIH funding by $4.5 billion compared to 2019. 

Congress is responsible for approving the funding for these programs. The draft House bill demonstrates lawmakers' understanding of the importance of organizations like NIH. ASDA will continue to monitor funding allocations as the bill moves through Congress. 

from the States
Arizona passes licensure reciprocity law

What's the issue?

On Wednesday, April 10, Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law a bill that would grant occupational licenses, including dental licenses, to any resident that holds a license in a different state. Under the law, in order to be eligible to receive an Arizona license, the resident has to have held their license for at least a year and be in good standing with their previous state board. Arizona licensing boards will only be able to test for information specific to Arizona law. 

Why is this important?

Two white papers released in 2015 on occupational licensure - Reforming Occupational Licensing Policies, prepared by the Hamilton Project and The Brookings Institution, and Occupational Licensing: A Framework for Policymakers, a White House report prepared by the Department of the Treasury Office of Economic Policy, the Council of Economic Advisers and the Department of Labor - relay that restrictive licensure policies have the ability to reduce access to care. Arizona is the first state to adopt such wide-sweeping licensure legislation. Based on how the law is implemented in Arizona, other states may begin to look at adopting similar legislation.

In October of 2018, ASDA along with the ADA and ADEA joined a coalition in an effort to modernize dental licensure. The goals of the coalition are to addresses two overarching issues with the licensure process: 1) eliminating the use of single encounter, procedure-based examinations on patients as part of the licensure examination and 2) removing restrictions on portability of dental licensure.

Next Step:

Legislation Update: Florida 

On April 29, the Florida House of Representatives passed HB 843. It now moves to the Governor Ron DeSantis' office for signature. The bill establishes a dental student loan repayment program that would encourage recent graduates to practice in underserved areas. This legislation is similar to the Senate bill discussed in the March issue of Advocacy Brief as they both would establish a Donated Dental Services Program to provide care to individuals that can't afford treatment but who previously didn't qualify for public assistance. 
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.