Legislative updates from the American Student Dental Association

March 2013

From Washington

What you need to know about the 2013 sequestration

As reported in the January 2013 issue of the Advocacy Brief, the budget sequester cuts are a group of automatically-triggered spending cuts from the Budget Control Act of 2011, or the debt ceiling debate. One provision from the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the legislative response to the fiscal cliff) included delaying the sequester cuts for two months, expiring March 1.


The cuts, which are estimated at about $85 billion, have been the topic of political and policy discourse since the passage of the bill that delayed their activation.  


Finish reading about budget sequestration on www.ASDAnet.org 

Lawmakers introduce legislation to repeal the medical device excise tax

Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Ron Kind (D-WI) introduced The Protect Medical Innovation Act, (H.R. 523) to repeal the medical-device excise tax. This legislation targets a provision that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, pursuant to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires manufacturers, producers or importers of medical devices to pay a 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of certain medical devices.


The legislation passed the House of Representatives last June as part of the Healthcare Cost Reduction Act, but never made it to the Senate. At that time, the Obama Administration said it would veto the bill, noting that the industry is expected to benefit from the 30 million new consumers who will gain health coverage in 2014.


H.R. 523 now has bipartisan support and 175 co-sponsors, which signals increased efforts to repeal the medical device excise tax. "The momentum from the last Congress is carrying over with a broader array of champions working to defeat this terrible tax," Steven Ubl, president and CEO of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, expressed in a statement. Further, Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) are expected to introduce companion legislation to repeal the tax.


Source: March 2013 ADEA Washington Update
Stand-alone dental plans offered in Federal Health Care Exchange

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released guidance regarding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), indicating that between three and nine stand-alone dental plans in the federal exchange and state partnership exchanges will be available in 33 states. Health plans selling in the federally facilitated exchange (FFE) and state partnership exchanges in 33 states will probably not have to offer pediatric dental coverage because enough stand-alone dental plans (SADPs) will be offered, according to the HHS guidance.


ACA authorizes the federal exchange and partnership exchanges between states and the federal government to operate in states that are not operating their own state-based exchanges. ACA permits an SADP to participate in an exchange to provide pediatric dental benefits. The exchanges will open for enrollment Oct. 1 to sell plans that take effect in 2014. Pediatric dental benefits are one of ten categories of ACA's Essential Health Benefits (EHBs), meaning that oral health care treatment must be covered.


Source: March 2013 ADEA Washington Update
Loan repayment program available for health professions educational loans

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released information announcing the Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program. The estimated amount available is approximately $20 million to support approximately 455 competing awards averaging $44,270 per award for a two-year contract.


Applicants selected for participation in the FY 2013 program cycle will be expected to begin their service period no later than Sept. 30, 2013. Feb. 15, 2013, is the first award cycle deadline date; Aug. 16, 2013, is the last award cycle deadline date; and Sept. 13, 2013, is the last award cycle deadline date for supplemental loan repayment program funds.


Read about the application process here.
Registration open for Lobby Day, April 15-16 in Washington, D.C.

Registration for National Dental Student Lobby Day is now open.This is your opportunity to get involved in advocacy and learn about what issues are important to dentistry. It also provides a rare opportunity to meet with your members of Congress and their staff and talk about what it means to be a dental student and what you'll be doing as a dentist. Talk to your chapter leaders by March 13 if you'd like to attend.


From the States 

ASDA State Lobby Day Grant recipients announced

ASDA established the State Lobby Day Grant to support advocacy at the local level. The grant is awarded based on those who applied and demonstrated a need for financial support to organize a state lobby day. The LGN reviewed applications based on information provided about the event's execution, funding sources and budgetary requirements. Congratulations to the following ASDA chapters who were awarded $500 to assist in the implementation or participate in a state lobby day event:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Kentucky 
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska/Creighton
  • Nova Southeastern 
NYSDA holds student legislative training

On Feb. 11, dental students from Columbia, NYU, Buffalo, Stony Brook and New Jersey traveled to Albany, NY, to participate in the first Student Legislative Training Day, facilitated by the New York State Dental Association (NYSDA). The training, a potential new model to the traditional lobby day, educated students on the issues facing dental students both in New York State and the New York metropolitan area. Invited speakers included Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy, state Senator Neil Breslin and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried. Additionally, NYSDA and ADA leaders, such as Dr. Deborah Weisfuse (NYSDA president), Dr. William Calnon (immediate past ADA president), Dr. Steven Gounardes (Second District ADA trustee) and Dr. Mark Feldman (NYSDA executive director) spoke on issues such as Medicaid, state responses to the Affordable Care Act and tort reform. 

Students from New York state dental schools meet with Dr. Weisfuse and Dr. Feldman in Albany before the Student Legislative Training Day.
Students from ASDA's Buffalo chapter gather at the New York State Capitol.
Dr. Steven Gounardes discusses the operations of ADA's Washington, D.C., office.
Washington state midlevel provider legislation defeated

Washington state midlevel provider expansion measures, H.B. 1514 and H.B. 1516, died in the House health committee on Feb. 22. Both bills would have potentially created a new dental workforce as a solution to the access to dental care issue. The Senate companion to H.B. 1514 (S.B. 5433) did not receive a hearing. ASDA opposes a scope of practice expansion that would allow a non-dentist to, among other things, examine or diagnose patients, perform irreversible dental procedures or prescribing drugs and/or other medications.


Additionally, state legislatures in Kansas (H.B. 2157), New Mexico (H.B 17), North Dakota (H.B. 1454) and Vermont (S.B. 35) have introduced measures regarding midlevel providers.

U.S. Senator Proposes Swapping State Oversight of Medicaid for Public Education

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) spoke to a joint session of the Tennessee General Assembly on Jan. 9, 2013, in Nashville. Senator Alexander is proposing a 'grand swap', in which the federal government would take over total responsibility for Medicaid and the states would gain total control over education. Senator Alexander indicated that he would file a bill that would take away states' responsibility to fund a portion of Medicaid, in exchange for taking on more of the cost of public education and other expenditures. As it currently stands, shifting Medicaid to the federal government and taking on education spending would save the states about $92 billion per year, $2 billion of that in Tennessee alone, according to Senator Alexander.


Source: February 2013 ADEA State Update
Federal Government Allows Maine to Make Significant Medicaid Cuts

On January 7, 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) with the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services, notified the Maine Department of Health and Human Services via a letter that the federal government will allow Maine to make limited cuts to its Medicaid program. Specifically, Maine may cut approximately 12,600 adults from the state's Medicaid rolls, and cut or reduce coverage for about 8,300 adults who also qualify for Medicare and rely on Medicaid support to purchase prescription drugs. The federal government, however, did not allow the state to cut coverage for approximately 6,500 19-and 20-year-olds.


Maine will make the prescribed Medicaid cuts starting March 1. The cuts will result in approximately $4 million in savings to the state, according to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.


Source: February 2013 ADEA State Update

State policy updates

Nebraska State Senator Tanya Cook (I-NE) has sponsored LB 157. The bill appropriates $900,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2013-2014, and $900,000 for FY2014-2015 from the General Funds to expand dental services to uninsured low-income Nebraskans for six community health centers. Each of the community health centers is to receive $150,000. The bill has been referred to the Appropriations Committee for consideration.


New York State Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright (D-NY) has sponsored AB 2719 and Senator Catharine Young (R,C,Ind.-NY) has sponsored SB 2190. The bills would allow the Commissioner of Health to include dentists in the Doctors Across New York program to provide dental services to underserved areas of the state. AB 2719 has been referred to the Assembly Standing Committee on Health. SB 2190 has been referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Health. Learn more about the current Doctors Across New York program.
Andrew Smith, governance and advocacy manager
ASmith@ASDAnet.org | 312-440-2795
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