Members of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) Chapter at the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) recently attended the ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day in Washington D.C. Over the course of three days from April 8 – 10, 2018, dental professionals and dental students from around the country attended hundreds of meetings on Capitol Hill with legislators and their staffs to advocate for oral health-related issues.
There were five issues on the docket this year for students and political leaders to discuss and advocate during Dentist and Student Lobby Day. First, the ADA’s Opioid Policy, which supports mandatory continuing education for opioid prescribers — with an emphasis on preventing drug overdoses, chemical dependency, and drug diversion.
Secondly, the Student Loan Programs, which called for issues to be considered in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and related higher education loan programs.
Third was the Dental and Optometric Care Act of 2017. Patients are adversely affected by provisions in dental and vision insurance benefits plans. Attendees discussed the coverage and what doctors may charge a plan enrollee for services not covered by the plan.
In addition, the discussion of the repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act looked at repealing the antitrust exemption for health insurance companies. This would help inject more competition into the insurance marketplace by authorizing greater federal antitrust enforcement in instances where state regulators fail to or cannot act.
Lastly, the group advocated for the Action for Dental Health Act. This bill would allow organizations to qualify for oral health grants authorized by Health and Human Services (HHS) to support activities that improve oral health education and dental disease prevention.
In conjunction with the lobbying activities and meetings, there were also three keynote speakers this year; Alex Castellanos, Bill Press, and Nathan Gonzales. Castellanos has served as communications consultant to seven U.S. Presidential campaigns, has helped elect over a dozen U.S. senators and governors, and enjoys over three decades of political consulting experience, both in the United States and abroad. Castellanos is a co-founder of Purple Strategies, a boutique strategy firm that takes its name from the merger of colors commonly identified with Democrats (blue) and Republicans (red), and the founder of NewRepublican.org.
Press is host of The Bill Press Show, a nationally syndicated radio show airing weekdays on local stations across the country and live streamed on Tawkr TV and can also be viewed on Free Speech TV. A senior political contributor for CNN, he attends the daily White House press briefing where he tweets live and writes a syndicated newspaper column distributed weekly by Tribune Media Services.
Lastly, Gonzales is Editor & Publisher of Inside Elections, which provides nonpartisan analysis of campaigns for Senate, House, governor and president. He is also Elections Analyst for Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, a CNN Political Analyst, and Founder and Publisher of PoliticsinStereo.com.
The DMD Annual Fund helped cover the cost of sending students to the event. The GSDM students and advisors in attendance at this year’s ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day were:
Jimmy Alburquerque DMD AS 19, Lindsey Janof DMD 19, Taylor Paek DMD 20, Troy Vagianelis DMD 20, Kellie Michaels DMD 20, Anisha Pandya DMD 20, Walter Wang DMD 20, Mohammad Mourad DMD AS 19, Poojan Dhanesha DMD AS 19 Christine Chiao DMD 19, and Dr. Kady Rawal, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Restorative Sciences & Biomaterials.