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. 

Career Advancement and Leadership Conference 

Oklahoma ASDA hosted their first Career Advancement and Leadership Conference (CA L)  on Saturday, August 26, 2017. This conference provided leadership  development and helped students expand their
knowledge of ASDA. The event featured ASDA alumni speakers including 2015-16 District 9 Trustee Kyle Larsen, who presented on licensure. The presentation was a great way for attendees to learn more about th e controversy surrounding  patient-based exams and learn about what ASDA is doing to change the process. 

This event highlights how advocacy information can be incorporated into any type of chapter event. Chapter President Lynna Van, Oklahoma '19, planned the event. Van is passionate about the dental profession and is a strong leader for her school and community. It is clear that Lynna and members of her chapter have caught ASDA (advocacy) fever.

Have additional questions about this event? Contact the Council on Advocacy.
ASDA expresses support for new refinancing bill

ASDA, along with 14 other dental organizations, signed on to a letter supporting the Student Loan Refinancing and Recalculation Act. The bill is expected to be introduced by Congressmen Garamendi (D-Calif.) and Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.) in the coming weeks. The bill would allow borrowers to refinance their student loan interest rates to the 10-year Treasury note rate, plus one percent, throughout the lifetime of the loan. The bill would also help students completing their dental residencies by allowing them to defer their payments until completing their programs. With bipartisan support, ASDA hopes this bill will move quickly through the committee process. 

from Washington
Health Care Updates
What's the issue?

Lawmakers continue to address issues with health care in the United States. Please refer to the updates below. 

Efforts to strengthen Affordable Care Act insurance markets

On September 6, Congress held its first hearing on how to stabilize the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Senators on both sides of the aisle agreed that continuing to fund cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments is a priority. These are subsidies given to insurers by the federal government to help low-income individuals afford their co-payments. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that insurers would raise premiums by an average of 20 percent if CSRs were not funded in 2018. Congress needs to act on this bill by the end of the month in order to give insurers time to finalize their decisions for 2018. Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) hopes to have consensus on the bill by the end of this week. 

Governors release bipartisan plan to improve health care 

On August 30, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican, released their plan to strengthen the insurance market. In the seven-page letter sent to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wi.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the governors outlined their proposal to address issues with the ACA. Some of their recommendations include:
  • Continue to fund CSRs.
  • Preserve the individual mandate.
  • Create tax exemptions for insurance carriers who offer plans in underserved communities.
  • Encourage young people to purchase insurance.

Republican senators provide another Obamacare replacement plan 

Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) on Sept. 13, introduced their
version of a bill to repeal and replace the ACA. The plan would turn health care over to the states thro ugh block grants. States would be able to change what qualifies as an essential health benefit and determine how the money they receive from the federal government is used to develop their own health care system. The Graham-Cassidy proposal would eliminate the individual and employer mandate. Much like previous Repu blican proposals, Medicaid would be funded at a per-capita cap and funding levels for Medicaid expansion would ultimately decrease. 
The bill has support from Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), who cast the deciding dissenting vote in the repeal and replace legislation that failed in August. President Trump also indicated he would support this legislation. Senators would have to vote on this bill by September 30 in order to take advantage of the procedural mechanism that allows them to pass the bill with only 51 votes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed to call a vote in September if the proposal receives support from 50 senators.  

Senator Sanders releases health care for all bill

On September 13, Senator Bernie Sanders (D- Vt.) released the Medicare for All Act. As noted in the title, the bill would expand Medicare to create a universal health insurance program. Currently, Medicare is only offered to people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease. Under this bill, insurance would cover most things from a visit to the emergency room to a prescription refill without having to provide a co-payment. Employers would not be responsible for providing insurance, but they would be responsible for paying higher taxes. At this point, we don't know how this bill may impact dentistry. Currently, Medicare does not cover routine dental care.

The bill has the support of at least 15 Democratic senators. The list includes senators like Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand, who have been identified as possible presidential candidates in 2020. Democratic leaders like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin have yet to provide comments on the bill.

Why is this important?
There are several groups offering solutions to health care concerns right now. Each effort has the potential to affect the patients you serve. It is important to be informed on health care developments in order to be an effective advocate for your patients.

Next step:
President Trump rescinds DACA program

What's the issue?

On September 6, President Trump announced that he will be rescinding the program known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The program was implemented in 2012 under President Obama. It allows young adults who were brought to the United States illegally as children to defer deportation. Individuals who pass a background check can apply to live and work in the United States for a renewable two-year period. Approximately 800,000 people have joined this program since 2012. 

President Trump gave Congress six months to pass legislation to address this issue before the administration stops renewing DACA permits. Currently, no new applications are being accepted, but DACA recipients with a work permit set to expire prior to March 5, 2018, can apply for a two-year renewal.

Why is this important? 

The deportation of 800,000 individuals could cost the economy $400 billion. ASDA's blog post, Trump's immigration policies and ASDA, outlines how President Trump's decision to rescind DACA relates to ASDA's E-4 policy on diversity. ASDA will keep you updated on congressional efforts to address this issue. 

Next Step:
from the states
Virginia governor looks to expand Medicaid

What's the issue?

On August 17, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe sent a letter to the state legislature requesting their support in expanding Medicaid. 

In his letter, McAuliffe noted, "the benefits are clear: 400,000 more Virginians served, an infusion of federal funds into our state budget and 30,000 jobs created." 

Why is this important?

As noted in ASDA's blog post, Analyzing Medicaid expansion and dental benefits, states that expand Medicaid may use that extra funding to restore adult dental benefits. California is an example of a state that was able to increase the number of adults eligible to receive dental care by 1.3 million. 

It will be important to monitor if the remaining 19 states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid will change their stance on this issue now that efforts to repeal and replace the ACA have failed.

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.