from ASDA
Heat up your advocacy - hold a Red, White and Brew Event    

Celebrate our nation's birthday with a little #ASDAadvocacy. A Red, White and Brew event is the perfect opportunity to learn more about an advocacy issue in a laid-back environment. 

Take a look at these four easy steps to holding your first Red, White and Brew event: 
  1. Find a bar, cocktail lounge or brewery in the area that can accommodate a semi-private event. 
  2. Identify the advocacy topic you want your colleagues to learn more about. ASDA's Legislative Priorities webpage is a great place to start your search. 
  3. Find a speaker. Your state dental association may have public policy experts or experienced dentists that could present on the topic you've chosen. Visit ASDA's state dental association webpage to learn how to get in contact. 
  4. Invite your friends. Now that you have a cool space, an interesting topic and engaging speaker all lined up, make sure that your chapter knows about it. Check out these examples of social promotions for some inspiration
Additional questions about hosting this patriotic party? Contact the Council on Advocacy
from Washington
House passes bipartisan opioid bill   

What's the issue?

On June 22, in a vote of 396-14, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act. The bill aims to address the opioid crisis by providing more research, education and prevention opportunities. It is a combination of more than 50 bills that were introduced on this issue. Some of the specific provisions include:
  • Requiring state Medicaid programs to monitor opioid prescriptions and put safety processes in place for opioid refills.  
  • Requiring Medicaid providers to check prescription drug monitoring programs before prescribing schedule II controlled substances, including oxycodone, codeine, and hydrocodone.
The bill now moves to the Senate. As detailed in the May issue of the Advocacy Brief, the Senate has their own version of the bill they are working on. 

Why is this important? 

ASDA supports legislative efforts to increase opioid education and prevention programs. During ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day, ASDA urged Congress to improve the quality, integrity, and interoperability of state prescription drug monitoring programs. This bill will help provide the resources needed to help address the crisis. 

Next Steps: 
Senate subcommittee increases NIH funding    

What's the issue? 

On June 26, the Senate appropriations subcommittee approved a spending bill that would increase the National Institutes of Health budget by $2 million, bringing the total to $39.1 billion. This is a 5.4 percent increase over 2018 and well over the Trump administration's $34.2 billion budget proposal. Of the funding,  $500 million  is allocated for research on opioid addiction.

Why is this important? 

This is the second year in a row that Congress has increased NIH funding. ASDA applauds Congress for recognizing the importance of research in making advances in the medical and dental fields.

Next Step: 
from the states
Medicaid measures take center stage in the states

Iowa Medicaid Program implements dental benefit caps   

What's the issue? 

Starting July 1, dental benefits will be capped for Medicaid recipients in Iowa. The new rule would place a $1,000 annual limit on non-emergency dental treatment covered by Medicaid for eligible adults. The rule would not affect children. The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services states these changes are necessary to ensure the longevity of the adult dental benefit program.  

Why is this important?

University of Iowa Dental College Associate Dean Michael Kanellis announced in a letter to the Iowa Medicaid program that, due to low reimbursement rates and confusing rules on adult dental benefits, the college will no longer accept new Medicaid patients. Kanellis writes, "we are concerned that the changes that have been made recently will effectively eliminate access to care for many patients enrolled in the Dental Wellness Plan and will lead to a crisis situation for many patients in the state."

Department of Human Services spokesperson Matt Highland said he would work to try and address the concerns of the college. 

As listed in ASDA's E-13 policy, the association encourages all U.S. CODA-accredited dental schools to accept Medicaid at their respective clinics. ASDA will keep you updated on this issue. 

Next Steps: 

Learn more about the dental benefit cap.

Read more about University of Iowa Dental College's response.
Kentucky halts dental and vision benefits under Medicaid

What's the issue? 

On June 29, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg ruled against Kentucky's Medicaid work requirements. He said the Trump administration failed to consider the implications for Kentucky citizens when it granted its request.

In response to the ruling, Gov. Matt Bevin announced that their administration was canceling dental and vision benefits for adults under Medicaid. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services reported that the judge's ruling invalidated the "My Rewards Account" which pays for vison and dental benefits for roughly 460,000 people. 

Why is this important? 

As described in the February issue of Advocacy Brief, Kentucky became the first state to impose Medicaid work requirements. The judge's ruling could affect other states with work requirements or states looking to impose them in the future. 

Kentucky's response to the ruling dramatically reduces access to dental care. It is important for you to be aware of this issue so you can be prepared to lobby against this decision if this happens in 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.