Legislative updates from the American Student Dental Association

October 2013

From Washington

ACA Implements Health Insurance Marketplace in Midst of Government Shutdown

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) launched one of its key provisions: enrollment for the health insurance marketplace. Through this process, otherwise known as health exchanges, applicants can compare different health insurance plans available in their respective states. Applicants seeking coverage effective Jan. 1, 2014 will need to apply by Dec. 15, 2013-otherwise the first open enrollment period will end March 31, 2014. The intent of these exchanges is to foster a competitive insurance market which could drive costs down and allow more people to purchase desired coverage. Ideally, if more individuals are purchasing coverage, there are more people sharing benefits, which should decrease both emergency treatment and overall cost.


Read more about the ACA insurance marketplace.



U.S. Senate examines dental crisis, introduces dental reform legislation

The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging held a hearing on Sept. 12. The hearing, Dental Crisis in America: The Need to Address Cost, chaired by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), consisted of a panel of experts in dentistry and oral health policy and discussed a variety of issues such as dental care costs, underserved populations and adult Medicaid coverage. In response to the hearing, ASDA submitted comments to the subcommittee applauding the Senate for addressing these issues but expressing concern regarding the use of dental therapists or midlevel providers as a solution to access to care. ASDA additionally highlighted the significant cost of dental education. The American Dental Association has also released a statement 

Sen. Sanders charged the hearing, Dental Crisis in America: the Need to Address Cost 
Credit: U.S. Senate 
regarding the hearing.

In the days following the hearing, Senator Sanders introduced the Comprehensive Dental Reform Act of 2013. Sen. Sanders drafted similar legislation in 2012 but was unsuccessful in moving it out of committee. The legislation covers five main areas aimed at ending the dental crisis by expanding coverage, creating new access points, enhancing the workforce, improving education and funding new research. ASDA will be monitoring the Comprehensive Dental Reform Act and will advocate for the inclusion of provisions that reflect ASDA policies. 

From the States 

Ben Youel State licensure spotlight: Illinois 

Ben Youel, DDS, Illinois '13, 2013-14 chair, leadership development work group 


To apply for my initial Illinois license I had to satisfy three requirements:

  1. Earn a dental degree (DDS or DMD) from a school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
  2. Pass the both parts of the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) administered by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE).
  3. Successfully complete a clinical examination administered by one of the following regional testing services:
    1. The Central Regional Dental Testing Service, Inc. (CRDTS) 
    2. The Southern Regional Testing Agency, Inc. (SRTA)*
    3. The Western Regional Examining Board (WREB) 
    4. The North East Regional Board (NERB)*
    5. The Council of Interstate Testing Agencies, Inc. (CITA)*
    6. *Note that SRTA, NERB and CITA administer the same exam. They administer the ADEX exam and it is developed by the American Board of Dental Examiners, Inc. (ADEX).

Read more about these requirements and Dr. Youel's path to licensure in Illinois.

Update on state Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act

Twenty states and the District of Columbia plan to expand their Medicaid program under ACA, according to information provided by the Commonwealth Fund. Under the ACA, as of Jan. 1, 2014, Medicaid eligibility will be expanded to reach all children and adults under age 65 with incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. On June 28, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ACA; however, the Court's ruling allows the ACA's Medicaid expansion to proceed, but without a provision threatening non-compliant states with the loss of their existing Medicaid funding. As a result, states can either opt-in or opt-out of the Medicaid expansion provision.


According to information released by the Department of Health and Human Services, there will be no deadline for states to decide whether to participate in the Medicaid expansion; however, the longer states take to opt-in, the less that state will receive in federal matching funds. Specifically, ACA provides 100 percent federal-matching funding for covering newly eligible Medicaid recipients in states that choose to expand for 2014, 2015 and 2016. For later years, the federal match decreases until it reaches 90 percent for 2020 and subsequent years.


Read more about Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa and Michigan and their pursuit of alternative Medicaid expansion plans.

ASDA State Lobby Day Grant applications now available

Advocacy is at the heart of ASDA's mission. Members are encouraged to support ASDA policies and protect their profession. Issues such as dental licensure and alternative workforce models are determined at the state level. In 2014, a maximum of $500 will be awarded per chapter, up to six chapters. Grants will be awarded based on those who demonstrate a need for financial support to organize a state lobby day. The Council on Advocacy will evaluate applications based on information provided about the event's execution, funding sources and budgetary requirements. 2013 recipient chapters included Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska/Creighton and Nova.


Applications are available on the ASDA website and are due by Jan. 6, 2014. Please contact Andrew Smith with any questions.


For more information, links to important resources and legislative videos, visit ASDAnet.org/Advocate.

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