from ASDA
Advocacy event spotlight   

It's time to stop reinventing the advocacy wheel. Rather than plan an event from scratch, learn from the leaders that have planned successful advocacy events at other chapters.

South Carolina Lobby Day

South Carolina ASDA took to the State Capitol on Marc h 21, 2018 for their annual State Lobby Day. SC ASDA is privileged to have an excellent working relationship with the South Carolina Dental Association (SCDA), who were instrumental in organizing the event. Students from all four years were able to meet with SCDA Board members and the university's Board of Trustee members throughout the day in Columbia, S.C. Dental students and members of the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services explored important topics facing the future of dentistry, ranging from Medicare fees to prescription drug abuse. To cap off the day, students were introduced on the floors of both the State House of Representatives and the State Senate. In order to initiate the planning of State Lobby Day, SC ASDA members have established connections with Medical University of South Carolina Governmental Affairs offices in both Charleston and Columbia.

Key to the successful planning and execution of our advocacy efforts is Brian Kirkland, South Carolina '19, who is currently serving his second term as the chapter's senior legislative liaison.

Have additional questions about this event? Contact the Council on Advocacy
Attend ASDA's Advocacy 101 webinar   

ASDA wants to ensure you understand the importance of advocacy. Join the Council on Advocacy for a webinar to learn more about ASDA's key legislative issues and the simple steps you can take to advocate on behalf of current and future dental students. First years, advocacy novices and anyone interested in learning more should attend.

The event takes place on September 13 at 7:30 p.m. CDT. Register to attend.
Get ASDA's first Advocacy Certificate 

If you've recently participated in an advocacy event, you're one point closer to earning the ASDA Advocacy Certificate.

The Certificate Program helps students become lifelong advocates. Students earn points by taking part in advocacy initiatives and then submitting final score sheets by February 1, 2019.

Learn more about the certificate program. Contact Keely O'Sullivan Kurtz, manager of advocacy and policy, with questions.
from Washington
House votes to repeal the medical device tax 

What's the issue? 

On Tuesday, July 24, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices in a vote of 283-132. The repeal will take effect in 2020.

As discussed in the January issue of the Advocacy Brief, the medical device tax was briefly reinstated before Congress delayed the tax as part of the stopgap spending deal to end the government shutdown in January.

Why is this important? 

This is an important legislative victory for ASDA. The association believes this tax hurts patients through increased costs and reduced access to innovative medical technologies. ASDA encourages you to advocate for its repeal in the Senate.

Next Steps: 
Legislation Update 

Action for Dental Health Act

As detailed in the 
June issue of the Advocacy Brief, the Senate introduced the Action for Dental Health Act on June 6. On July 25, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions unanimously passed the Action for Dental Health Act, which clears the path for a full vote of the Senate. 

Ensure that the bill gets a vote on the Senate floor. Take a minute to send this action alert to encourage your Senators to co-sponsor this bill. 
Democrats introduce their version of the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act

What's the issue? 

On July 26, Rep. Robert Scott (D-Va.) introduced H.R. 6543, the Aim Higher Act.
The Aim Higher Act looks to improve access to higher education for low-income individuals through the following measures:
  • Increasing grant aid for low-income students
  • Improving the federal loan system 
  • Empowering students to earn while in school  
It also preserves and expands the Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program to include those who work for veteran service organizations that are not currently eligible for debt forgiveness. 

Why is this important? 

During ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day, ASDA advocated for the preservation of the PSLF program. This program allows new graduates to reduce their burden of student debt while helping communities in need. 

Next Step: 

from the states
Monitoring Medicaid measures in the states 

Last month, we shared with you Medicaid changes in Kentucky and Iowa. The situations continue to evolve.

Iowa dental benefit caps delayed 

What's the issue?

The $1,000 annual limit on non-emergency dental treatment covered by Medicaid for eligible adults will now be delayed until the beginning of September. The annual limit was set to begin on July 1.

Department of Human Services spokesman Matt Highland noted the delay was to ensure that there would be sufficient time for Medicaid Enterprise to implement the change effectively.

Why is this important?

This delay gives students in Iowa more time to advocate for a reversal of this decision. Putting a limit on these services forced the Iowa Dental School to stop seeing Medicaid patients.

Next Step:

Learn more about the delay.

Kentucky restores dental and vision benefits under Medicaid

What's the issue?

On July 19, Kentucky officials announced that they would be reinstating dental and vision benefits for roughly 460,000 people.

This is a reversal of Gov. Matt Bevin's decision last month to cancel those benefits. That announcement garnered a negative response from Kentucky Democrats and other public health advocates citing that people who needed care were being denied treatment. Dr. Chad Street, a Pikeville oral surgeon noted that his office had cancelled appointments for more than 200 patients that had lost coverage.

The administration decided to reinstate these benefits to "avoid a prolonged coverage gap" while they are attempting to implement Medicaid work requirements.

Why is this important?

This is important victory for low-income patients in Kentucky. Providing access to preventive care ensures that patients don't end up in the emergency room from a complication from a dental issue that could've been easily treated by a dentist.

Next Step:

Read more about the issue.
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.