Legislative updates from the American Student Dental Association

May 2013

From Washington

Lobby Day 2013: 330+ students, 200 Congressional appointments

On Tuesday, April 16, more than 330 ASDA members from across the country visited their Congressional representatives and lobbied on behalf of the issues most important to dental students, practitioners and patients.


Fifty-two ASDA chapters scheduled more than 200 appointments with lawmakers and staff, where students specifically lobbied on behalf of Congressman Tom Petri's
(R-WI) forthcoming student debt reduction bill: the Earnings Contingent Education Loans (ExCEL) Act. During these meetings, participants also discussed their concerns and possible solutions to issues such as growing student debt, medical device taxes and higher education-related tax extenders. 
ASDA leaders meet with Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS, at Lobby Day 2013.

Prior to their appointments, ASDA members attended a day-long, policy-intensive training session that focused on how to successfully engage federal legislators and staff. Several speakers took the stage, including leaders from organized dentistry, political operatives, high-ranking Capitol Hill staffers and a keynote address from Congressman Tom Petri.  


Students' advocacy initiatives can significantly influence lawmakers' discussions and outcomes. Stay tuned to www.ASDAnet.org/LobbyDay for updates on the issues ASDA lobbied.


For event photos, check our ASDA on Flickr

Legislative Liaison and Ideal LGN Chapter Awards Announced

Andrew Welles, Marquette '15, received the 2013 Legislative Liaison of the Year. This award honors an outstanding legislative liaison in motivating and organizing their chapter in the legislative arena and getting the chapter involved in advocacy efforts and events. Andrew diligently monitored and took action on complex issues, such as a Wisconsin Prescription Drug Monitoring Program implemented in January 2013, which affected all dentists who write prescriptions. He also formed a legislative committee at Marquette that works to organize various hot topics for legislative lunch & learns. He worked with his university to develop a legislative pamphlet and supporting materials to distribute to lawmakers and staff, which details the economic and political impact of a dental education.


The Ohio State University ASDA Chapter received the 2013 Ideal LGN Award (Nathan Pruter, Ohio '14, accepted the award on behalf of his chapter). This award honors outstanding achievements by an ASDA chapter in serving the association on a local and national level. Ohio State took action on several advocacy-related efforts this year, such as multiple letter writing campaigns, an Advocacy Academy which brought students from the dental school together with the state dental association for legislative training and meetings with state lawmakers, voter registration drives, state PAC and ADPAC weeks, state lobby days both with state dental associations and student organized, and numerous legislative lunch & learns.

From the States 

ASDA immediate past president testifies in Maine MLP hearing

On April 11, ASDA Immediate Past President Colleen Greene, Harvard '13, spoke in opposition to ME L.D. 1230: state legislation that would allow dental hygiene therapists with only 500 hours of training to perform irreversible procedures. ASDA joined others in organized dentistry in opposition to L.D. 1230, including the Maine Dental Association. Greene's testimony focused on the opening of the University of New England College of Dental Medicine. As Maine's only dental school, this institution will appropriately educate and train new dentists to treat Maine's patients. If passed, this legislation will discourage new students from attending UNE and dissuade native Mainers from returning to their home state to practice. ASDA will continue to monitor L.D. 1230.

States push fees to pay for health insurance exchange costs

On March 1, Representative Elizabeth McCann (D-CO) introduced H.B. 13-1245. The bill provides that in order to fund the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange (COHBE), the COHBE Board of Directors (Board) may charge health plans fees up to $1.80 per month per member to provide for the sustainability of the exchange, and offer tax credits for insurance companies making contributions to the COHBE. In addition, the COHBE Board met on March 11 and approved an administrative fee of 1.4 percent on products marketed and sold through the COHBE starting in 2014.


H.B. 228, introduced by House Speaker Michael Busch (D-MD) at the request of the Administration, passed the Maryland House on March 25 by a vote of 93-43, and the Maryland Senate on April 4 by a vote of 36-11. The bill would expand the state's Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, and establish a dedicated funding stream for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE) through an insurance premium tax paid by health insurers and for-profit health maintenance organizations (HMOs). If, in any fiscal year, the allocation is insufficient, the Governor may provide a deficiency appropriation. Any unspent funds revert to the general fund at the end of each fiscal year. H.B. 228 has been cross-filed with S.B. 274.


Source: April ADEA State Update.
State policy updates


Arkansas H.B. 2121, sponsored by Representative Fonda Hawthorne (D-AR) along with five co-sponsors, requires health benefit plans to provide for corrective surgery and treatment for craniofacial anomaly. The bill has passed both chambers and has been transmitted to Governor Mike Beebe (D-AR) for signature.



Idaho H.B. 248 passed both chambers and was signed by Governor C.L. Butch Otter (R-ID) on March 28. The new law establishes the Idaho Health Insurance Exchange, not as a state agency, but rather as an independent body, under the supervision of its board. In addition, according to the fiscal note, the exchange would not be funded by Idaho taxpayer money in either its initial startup or its ongoing operations. It is contemplated that initial costs to establish the exchange would be funded via federal grants, which may be in the approximate amount of $30 million. After the first year of operations, the exchange will be self-sustaining, supported by fees imposed on carriers or other users in the exchange, and not by any direct tax upon businesses or individuals.   



Indiana S.B. 532, sponsored by Senator Doug Eckerty (R-IN), permits the Indiana Secondary Market for Education Loans, Inc. to become a direct lender of postsecondary education loans for purposes of attending both Indiana and non-Indiana postsecondary education institutions. The bill passed the House with a technical amendment, and has been sent to the Senate for further consideration.



Kansas Substitute H.B. 2183 has been sponsored by the Committee on Health and Human Services. The bill was sent to conference committee and the conference committee report was adopted by both chambers. Under the bill, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Environment is authorized to issue such orders and adopt rules and regulations necessary to prevent the spread and dissemination of diseases injurious to the public health, including, but not limited to, providing for the testing for such diseases and the isolation and quarantine of persons afflicted with or exposed to such diseases. Additionally, the bill requires that rules and regulations be developed and adopted by Jan. 1, 2014, to protect both individuals who provide services that may result in occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials, and those who receive the services.


Source: April ADEA State Update.

Andrew Smith, governance and advocacy manager
ASmith@ASDAnet.org | 312-440-2795
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