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.

ASDA's Advocacy Molar Bear stopped by Birmingham, Alabama, on her tour around the country just in time for midterm elections. On Tuesday, November 6, many students went out and voted to make their voices heard. That night we celebrated with "Red Wine & Brews" to watch election results and to spend some quality time together outside of school. 

On Wednesday after the election, students enjoyed a lunch and learn with legislative liaisons at the "Chick-fil-A Caucus." Over chicken sandwiches, students learned more about the annual Lobby Day in Washington, D.C., where we will lobby important topics such as midlevel providers and student debt to our legislators. Faculty member Dr. Stevens was also present to stress the importance of bipartisanship in today's political climate.

We finished up Advocacy Week at Alabama with our second annual Fight Night, co-hosted by SPEA and featuring four of our fantastic faculty. Last year's winner, Fightin' Ford, came back for blood with new challengers: Thunder T, Roundhouse Robles and Shootin' Hsu, with Dr. Broome as moderator. Dr. Ford and Dr. Robles debated whether or not midlevel providers should perform irreversible procedures, while Dr. T and Dr. Hsu debated the benefits of live patient procedures in licensure. Ultimately, Dr. Hsu and Dr. Robles made it to the final round and discussed the pros and cons of increasing the dental labor force. It was a close call, but in the end Dr. Robles (representing the D3 class) won and is our reigning Fight Night Champion. We look forward to hosting an exciting rematch next year.

Have additional questions about this event? Contact the Council on Advocacy
Advocacy Month 2018 was a huge success  

Advocacy Month was successful thanks to grassroots initiatives held at the chapter level. We hope you enjoyed the events and learned more about advocacy.

Competitions were held throughout the month to encourage members to share their advocacy pride. This year, Boston ASDA won the Populist Chapter competition by receiving the most likes on their advocacy event post. They hosted their first-ever debate and desserts where participants discussed advocacy-related issues.

An honorable mention award is granted to Louisiana ASDA for their Donut Forget to Vote initiative. They, along with the Advocacy Molar Bear, got out the vote for the midterm election.

Thank you to all of the chapters and individuals that participated in all of ASDA's competitions to help make this the best Advocacy Month yet! ASDA advocacy is stronger because of your efforts.

ASDA and others thank senators for supporting dental faculty loan repayment program     

ASDA and three other organizations signed on to a letter thanking Senators Cardin and Wicker for introducing S.10. This is the companion bill of H.R. 6149 which would exclude certain federal loan repayments made to dental faculty from being included as gross income. This legislation will help recruit and retain qualified dental faculty. ASDA signed on to this letter in August.  
from Washington
Legislation Update 

On Nov. 28, Congress passed the finalized version on the Action for Dental Health Act. As discussed in last month's issue of the Advocacy Brief, after the bill passed the Senate it headed back to the House of Representatives for reconciliation.

The bill then headed to President Donald J. Trump's desk, where it was signed into law on Dec. 11, 2018.

Since the first bill was originally introduced in 2015, ASDA members have sent 1,206 letters to Congress advocating for the bill's passage.

This victory shows the importance of consistent advocacy engagement throughout your dental school career. 
from the states
Three states vote to expand Medicaid 

What's the issue?

Voters in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah approved ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid. The measure failed in Montana. As discussed in the October issue of Advocacy Brief, the four traditionally Republican states qualified to add the measure to the ballot, signaling public support for the Affordable Care Act.

About 300,000 low-income adults will gain access to coverage through this expansion. Individuals with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which amounts to $16,754 for a single person, will now qualify for Medicaid.

Why is this important?

While dental coverage for the new recipients will vary based on each state's program, these actions will significantly reduce barriers to care. It will be important for dental students in Nebraska and Utah to monitor the implementation of Medicaid expansion to determine how it may affect the patients they serve.

Next Step:

Missouri Medicaid Program sees success 

What's the issue?

In 2016, the Missouri state legislature expanded Medicaid to include adult dental benefits. Since then, the state has seen a dramatic reduction in dental-related emergency room visits.
In January 2015, before the benefit was in place, the state recorded 1,439 non-traumatic emergency dental department visits (based on the number of claims). In January of 2018, 827 emergency department claims for dental visits were made, resulting in significant savings for the state.

Why is this important? 

States looking to save money often cut or neglect providing adult dental benefits in Medicaid. Missouri's data highlights the long-term savings states could achieve for offering the benefit. It is important to highlight Missouri's success when advocating for adult dental benefits within Medicaid.

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.