November 2018 Volume LIII Number 6

 
 
 
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A Message from Your President

November 2018 Volume LIII Number 6

Midterms have finished and the has dust settled on both sides of the aisle. The Senate and House seats are once again filled with incumbents and newbies. Legislative agendas will again appear, and Congress’s work will resume. We will have to wait and see if any big changes are in store, or if it will be business as usual. One thing is for certain—AAPD’s primary focus will continue to be on what is best for children.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) works to advocate policies, guidelines and programs that promote optimal oral health and oral health care for children.

We are advocates for children’s oral health and work closely with legislators, other professional associations, and health care profes- sionals. AAPD Advocacy efforts strengthen the voice of pediatric dentistry on behalf of children’s oral health at the national and state level.

AAPD’s Legislative and Regulatory Priorities are developed each year by the Council on Government Affairs, along with our Congres- sional Liaison, and approved by the board of trustees. They develop and prioritize the issues on which the Academy will focus their legisla- tive efforts. Among the AAPD’s 2018-19 key areas of focus are:
 
  • Secure Title VII funding. The goal is to acquire FY 2019 fund- ing of $40.673 million for the HRSA Title VII Primary Care Dental Training Cluster and related oral health programs,
  • with not less than $12 million for Pediatric Dentistry Training programs including continuation of dental faculty loan repay- ment program awards under FY 2017 funding criteria that gave preference to pediatric dental faculty.
  • Making dental faculty loan repayment non-taxable to the recipi- ent. There is currently no provision to alleviate taxation of such payments to the individual. This limits the effectiveness of the program in recruiting and retaining primary care dental faculty. AAPD supports H.R. 6149, which would remedy this situation.
  • Supporting the repeal of antitrust exemption for health insur- ance. Repeal of the antitrust exemption for health insur-  ance companies would help inject more competition into the
  • insurance marketplace by authorizing greater federal antitrust enforcement in instances where state regulators fail to or can- not act. Promoting lower prices, greater consumer choice, and increased innovation through robust competition is the role of the antitrust laws.
  • Supporting the student loan refinancing and restoration act.
  • This act would: 
    Allow borrowers to refinance their student loan interest rates to the 10-year Treasury note rate, plus one percent, throughout the lifetime of the loan.
  • Eliminate origination fees and instead set future student loan interest rates at the 10-year Treasury note rate, plus one percent.
  • Delay student loan interest rate accrual for many low- and middle-income borrowers while they are in school.
  • Allow for borrowers in medical or dental residencies to defer payments until the completion of their programs.
 
Educating pediatric dentists, health care providers, legislators, and the public regarding pediatric oral health is a big part of our advocacy efforts. Every year in late February or early March, the AAPD convenes its Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C., during which our members head to the "Hill" and advocate on behalf of the children we serve. This year, nearly 300 members, including over 175 residents representing 36 residency programs, made visits to congressional offices to get AAPD’s message out to Senators, Representatives, and Staffers. Through these face to face meetings, AAPD continues to build crucial relationships with our lawmakers and allows them to better understand our cause. Next year’s Advocacy Conference is scheduled for Feb. 24-27, 2019, where we will again head to the Nation’s Capital to advocate and educate lawmakers on issues that affect children’s oral health.

Interested in advocacy? Would you like to be a voice for children? It is not as hard as you think. You can make an impact by establishing relationships with your Senators and Representa- tives. Invite them to your office and show them what a pediatric dentist is and does. Schedule an appointment to talk to them about our priorities and the importance of pediatric oral health. The relationships you establish will go a long way in advancing the message about children’s oral health. Those relationships will make a difference in children’s lives. You will make a difference in children’s lives.
 
Since Turkey Day is almost upon us, I would like to take this opportunity to wish each of you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. May you enjoy it with family and friends…and perhaps a wee bit of football.

Happy Thanksgiving! Have a great one!
 
 

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