The Legsislative Ledger

 October 2011
ASDA Advocacy

Central Region Chapters


The University of Detroit Mercy and the University of Michigan united in Michigan's capital for the first student lobby day in more than five years. Students met Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe), Speaker of the House Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) and lobbied 10 lawmakers in the halls outside the Senate and House chambers. Students sat in House and Senate sessions and were recognized with applause from these political leaders.

Western Region Chapters
Two important chapter advocacy events are an annual ADPAC drive and state lobby day. Connor Hollowwa at Creighton has been working on both. A challenge of being a private school in a small state is many students aren't from Nebraska. This has made it difficult to get local and state legislators to come speak at the dental school. Connor has been working with University of Nebraska's legislative liaison to get local policy makers to come to both schools. The hope is to have legislators speak at one school and then drive the 57 miles to speak to the other school. Kudos to ingenuity and a good idea that other chapters may want to try!
Eastern Region Chapters
District 1 chapters has a fun and educational outing last month at Six Flags. It was sponsored by P & G and was a great way to kick off the new school year! More than 70 students attended. The day started with a leadership conference with attendees taking personality tests and a presentation on patient communication. Afterwards, it was off for some fun in the park!
ASDA Commends U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
On Sept. 13, 2011, ASDA signed on to a letter sponsored by the American Dental Association to the Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The letter commended her for identifying oral health as a leading health indicator - a sign of progress for dentistry as a profession. As a result, oral health will receive substantially more attention as a critical health need. It will also renew interest in addressing other Healthy People 2020 topic areas that have an oral health component, such as access to health services, cancer, diabetes, educational and community-based programs, older adults and tobacco use.
From the States

Health Care Reform Individual Mandate to go before Supreme Court

The Affordable Care Act requires every individual to be covered by health insurance or pay a fine. The 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta voted 2-1 that this requirement is unconstitutional and "requires an individual to enter into a compulsory contract with a private company." The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit Court had previously upheld the individual mandate by a 2-1 vote. The U.S. Supreme Court will decide the constitutionality of the individual mandate that takes effect in 2014 (WU, 1). 

Raising the Federal Debt Ceiling

On Aug. 2, the President signed into law a bill to increase the federal debt ceiling. This legislation will increase the debt ceiling in two steps, require spending cuts of $900 billion and creates the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction to slash an additional $1.5 trillion from the deficit over the next 10 years. The committee must create such a plan by Nov. 23, 2011, that passes both the Senate and the House of Representatives. If the plan doesn't pass, there will be automatic and servere spending cuts of $1.5 trillion on all defense and domestic programs. ADEA and dental communities are working to determine the impact of such cuts on federal programs and agencies of importance to dentistry (WU, 1-2).

From the States

Medicaid and Equality - Access and Reimbursement

The U.S. Health and Human Services Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services will be obligated to evaluate state Medicaid programs under the Equal Access clause, ensuring Medicaid beneficiaries have the same access to providers as the general public in the same geographic location, per a proposed clause if adopted. The ADA notes greater focus on the strong correlation between market-based reimbursement rates and provider participation would improve access (SLR, 3-4). 

Majority of States have NCS Law

With Connecticut's enactment of a non-covered services (NCS) bill in July, more than half of the states now have laws to stop dental plans from restricting fees on procedures they don't cover. Rhode Island led as the first state to adopt an NCS law more than two years ago (SLR, 2).

Quote of the Month

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."  

---- Steve Jobs

Some information published in this newsletter is credited to the
ADEA Washington Update (WU) and the ADA State Legislative Report (SLR).
In This Issue
-Central Region Chapters
-Western Region Chapters
-Eastern Region Chapters
-ASDA Commends U.S. Dept. of HHS
-Health Care Reform Mandate to go before Supreme Court
-Raising the Federal Debt Ceiling
-Medicaid & Equality
-Majority of States have NCS Law
-Quote of the Month
Legislative Grassroots Network

Veena Vaidyanathan, Pacific '12

Vice Chair
Aruna Rao, Minnesota '12

Regional Legislative Coordinators
Namrata Gupte, Tufts '12
Crystal Ammori, Michigan '13
Aaron Bumann, Minnesota '13

District 9 Trustee
Emily Moers, San Antonio '14

Vice President
Brittany Bensch Dean, Washington '12

Staff Liaison
Meghan Keelean, CMP