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.
Intro to Advocacy during ASDA Fever Week
Pacific ASDA kicked off the school year with its annual ASDA Fever Week, hosting a number of events to help get everyone involved with our chapter. The week was capped off with an "Intro to Advocacy" lunch & learn. The Dental Student Action Committee (DSAC), a group dedicated to helping students recognize the connection between politics and dentistry, shared what advocacy is and how students can get involved. More than 60 students from all classes came out to enjoy sponsored chips and burritos while learning more about ADPAC and the current issues affecting dental students. Topics discussed included federal legislation such as H.R. 1614 (Student Loan Refinancing Act) and H.R. 372 (Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act), as well as California legislation regarding   Denti-Cal. Students learned about the importance of lobbying and making their voices heard using ASDA Engage.

The event concluded with a short question and answer session, as well a chance for students to meet with members of the Dental Student Action Committee. With a number of students expressing interest in future advocacy-related events and many more leaving better informed than when they arrived, Pacific ASDA is proud to have held such a successful Intro to Advocacy event during Fever Week. Chapter legislative liaison Sarah Kuruvilla, Pacific '19, was responsible for planning this event.

Read the Chapter Advocacy How-To Guide for more information on how to participate in a lobby day in your state. Have additional questions about this event? Contact the Council on Advocacy

Register to attend ASDA's Advocacy 101 webinar

Just like Pacific ASDA, national 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 Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Register to attend.

ASDA members are invited to participate in ADEA Advocacy Day on Tuesday, Sept. 19. This is an opportunity for dental educators, dental and craniofacial researchers, and dental students from across the country to tell members of Congress why funding for oral health training programs and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) is critically necessary for the overall health and well-being of the nation. Learn more about the event and how to register.
from Washington
Senate fails to pass Obamacare repeal and replace bill 

What's the issue?
In the last issue of the Advocacy Brief, we shared that the Senate released a modified version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) just hours before the publication of the newsletter. Since then, several events occurred that led to the failure of the bill. Refer to the timeline below:

July 13
  • The Senate releases a revised version of the BCRA. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rand Paul (R-KY) express opposition to the amended bill, making the bill's passage difficult.
July 18
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announces that a vote on the bill will take place the week of July 24.
July 25
  • The Senate passes the motion to debate the healthcare bill in a 51-49 vote with Vice President Mike Pence making the tie-breaking vote. This procedural maneuver allowed Senators to begin the health care reform process.
  • Later that day, the Senate voted down a key proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Did you know?...It is the responsibility of the vice president who serves as president of the Senate to break a tie. Tie votes don't happen too frequently. Since 1789, only 259 tie-breaking votes have been cast. Twelve vice presidents, including vice president Joe Biden, never cast a tie-breaking vote while serving their terms.

July 26
  • The Senate rejects repeal-only legislation that would give Congress two years to develop a replacement.
July 28
  • In a vote of 49-51, the Senate votes down a scaled-down version of the BCRA that would repeal the individual and employer mandate. Senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and John McCain (R-AZ) vote against the legislation referred to as the "skinny bill."
July 29
  • President Trump suggests that the administration may stop making key subsidy payments to insurers known as cost-sharing reductions in an effort to destabilize Obamacare.
August 2
  • Congress begins bipartisan efforts to improve the ACA. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) stated that hearings to strengthen the insurance markets will begin in September.
Why is this important?
The ACA is still in effect. It will be important to monitor the efforts of Congress to make improvements to the current law.

Next Step:

Legislation update 

In the July issue of the Advocacy Brief, we shared that the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health unanimously passed the Action for Dental Health Act. The bill then went before the full House Committee on Energy and Commerce where it also passed unanimously. The bill now goes before the full House of Representatives.

Now is the time to contact your representative and let them know how this bill will help reduce barriers to care in your state.

House releases 2018 budget plan

On July 18, House Republicans released their 2018 proposed budget. The plan includes $200 billion in spending cuts to mandatory programs. On July 19, the House Committee on Appropriations met to finalize the 2018 appropriations bill. In the April issue of the Advocacy Brief, we shared President Trump's budget proposal. See below how the House Committee approached allocating funds for agencies that address oral health care:
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH): Increases funding by $1.1 billion. NIH seeks to make improvements to health, lengthen life and reduce illness and disability through research and innovation.
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): Cuts funding by $397.6 million. HHS administers grants to support oral health workforce activities. It also provides scholarships and loans for disadvantaged students to promote diversity among health professions.
  • National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR): Increases funding by $6.6 million. NIDCR is under NIH and seeks to improve oral, dental and craniofacial health through research, training and the dissemination of health information.
Why is this important?
ASDA, along with other organizations in the dental community, sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to allocate $452 million for NIDCR in 2018. While the Committee only recommended a budget of $432.36 million, it still represents an increase in funding over 2017. This is an important victory for dental research and shows the importance for advocating for the advancement of the profession.

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.