The Legsislative Ledger

 June 2011
ASDA Advocacy
Eastern Region Chapters    
Chapters at Temple University, University of Pennsylvania and University of Pittsburgh are participating in the annual Pennsylvania Day on the Hill in Harrisburg. On June 14, approximately 50 students will lobby state issues relevant to dentistry and health care. Way to go!
Central Region Chapters    
ASDA members at The University of Kentucky, led by Legislative Liaison John Chamberlain, took to their state capital in February after nearly a decade absence. A dozen dental students met with the Kentucky Dental Association, whose Insurance and Banking Committee recognized their chapter. Students spoke of pertinent oral health care initiatives with legislators. New Legislative Liaison Megan Whitt is preparing for their fall ADPAC drive.
Western Region Chapters    
Western University elected its first legislative liaison this spring. Pam Han will be leading the new LGN at Western. Starting up is a huge undertaking, and we're excited to see the initiative Western is taking to be active in legislative events. Western is in the process of planning their first ADPAC drive for the upcoming year.
From Washington, D.C.
Federal Bill Addresses Barriers to Oral Health  
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), one of two dentists in the House of Representatives, introduced the "Breaking Barriers to Oral Health Care Act of 2011." The bill aims to help low income families and individuals receive dental care. The bill would award grants to aid in purchasing dental equipment and paying for operating costs, as well as promote collaboration with state, county, and local public health officials to increase the availability of oral health care. The bill is currently in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (WU, 3-4).
Tight Federal Budget Could Mean Cuts in Medicaid/CHIP Dental Benefits  
New legislation to reach the House floor could allow states to decide what benefits to cut from Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The State Flexibility Act (H.R. 1683/S. 868) would get rid of certain stipulations that mandate states' financial commitment to Medicaid and CHIP benefits. This would allow states to trim their health care budget. It is estimated that H.R. 1683 would cut federal Medicaid spending by $2.1 billion by 2021. Traditionally, dental benefits have been hit hard by such spending cuts (WU, 7-8).
NIH Director Pushes on Capitol Hill for More Funding 
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins continues to push for funding to advance research and the scientific competitiveness of the U.S. on the world stage. Only one in every six grant requests to the NIH is funded, leaving many possibly life-saving projects unfunded. The director was well received by members of both parties, but all were skeptical about where to find more funds in the current budget situation. Collins emphasized money spent now could drastically reduce cost of disease treatment in the future through better management and prevention (WU, 10-11).
From the States

Vermont Getting Close to Universal Health Care  

The Vermont legislature has passed a bill that could allow the state to move to a single-payer, publicly financed, universal health care system, Green Mountain Health Care. Federal waivers are required to allow the transition to this system. It is not yet clear if dental will be included. The Green Mountain Care board will make the decision whether to include dental, vision, and hearing benefits. If the bill fulfills its intended purpose, Vermont will be the first state with universal health care (SLR, 3-4).

Quote of the Month

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."  

---- Martin Luther King, Jr. 


Some information published in this newsletter is credited to the ADEA Washington Update (WU) and the ADA State Legislative Report (SLR).
In This Issue
-Eastern Region Chapters
-Central Region Chapters
-Western Region Chapters
-Federal Bill Addresses Barriers to Oral Health
-Potential Cuts in Medicaid/CHIP Dental Benefits
-NIH Director Pushes on Capitol Hill for More Funding
-Vermont Close to Universal Health Care
-Quote of the Month
Legislative Grassroots Network

Chair
Veena Vaidyanathan, Pacific 2012

Vice Chair
Aruna Rao, Minnesota 2012

Regional Legislative Coordinators
Namrata Gupte, Tufts 2012
Crystal Ammori, Michigan 2013
Aaron Bumann, Minnesota 2013

District 9 Trustee
Emily Moers, UT-San Antonio 2014

Vice President
Brittany Bensch, Washington 2012

Staff Liaison
Meghan Keelean, CMP
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