May 2020 Volume LV Number 3


Legislative and Regulatory Update

May 2020 Volume LV Number 3

 Unless otherwise noted, for further information on any of these issues please contact Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel C. Scott Litch at (312) 337-2169 or
On March 1-4, 2020, over 350 AAPD members from 39 states plus D.C., advocated for children’s oral health in Washington, D.C., by visiting with their members of Congress. AAPD attendees includ- ed members of the Council on Government Affairs, PAC Steering Committee, Executive Committee, and Budget and Finance Com- mittee. Thirty-four AAPD state Public Policy Advocates particpated as well. Sixty pediatric dentistry residency programs were represented, with more than 200 residents in attendance. For the fifth year in a row, the AAPD held a special pre-conference advocacy orientation and training session solely for residents.
Attendees heard updates on key AAPD public policy issues, focus- ing on Title VII pediatric dentistry funding and dental faculty loan repayment tax exclusion, the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act (ELSA), and the REDI Act (see more details below). For the second straight year the keynote entertainment was the comedy troupe Capitol Steps, who delivered entertaining song, dance, and monologues poking fun at both political parties and all aspects of the 2020 presidential election. HRSA Chief Dental Officer Dr. Renee Joskow provided an update on agency activities plus the pending Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health, expected to be released later in 2020. AAPD Chief Policy Officer Dr. Paul Casamassimo discussed the AAPD pedi- atric dentist workforce study and its policy implications. PEDO Talk Podcast moderator Dr. Joel Berg recorded two podcasts on stage: one with Congressional staffers Lauren Jee (Senior Health Policy Counsel for Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland) and Jamie Neill (Legislative Assistant for Congressman Mike Simpson of Idaho), and the other with AAPD Congressional Liaison-designees Drs. Warren Brill and Jade Miller.
In addition to briefings from AAPD’s Washington representative Michael Gilliland from Hogan Lovells and COO/General Counsel C. Scott Litch, attendees heard a rousing and inspirational closing speech from Congressional Liaison Dr. Heber Simmons Jr. To further prepare for Congressional visits, attendees also witnessed a "mock visit" featuring President-elect Dr. Jessica Lee, Vice President Dr. Jeannie Beauchamp, and Kate McAuliffe of Hogan Lovells.
The AAPD PAC hosted a fundraiser for Congressman (and dentist) Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J. 2nd). He was introduced to AAPD attendees as follows:
Jeff Van Drew was born in New York City. He gradu- ated with a B.S. from Rutgers University and received a D.M.D. degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Dr. Van Drew operated a dental practice in South Jersey for 30 years before retiring. He has served as president of the New Jersey Dental Society and a board expert of  the New Jersey Board of Dentistry. 
Van Drew served on the Dennis Township Committee in 1991, and as Mayor from 1994 to 1995 and from 1997 to 2003. He served on the Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders from 1994 to 1997, and was a Dennis Township Fire Commissioner from 1983 to 1986.
In 1994, as a Cape May County Freeholder, Van Drew made support for a local community college a major cam- paign issue. In 2002, ground was broken on the site of the future Atlantic Cape Community College campus in Cape May County.
First elected in 2007, Dr. Van Drew served four terms in the New Jersey State Senate. In 2008, he sponsored the Fair Market Drug Pricing Act to establish the New Jersey Prescrip- tion Card Program to reduce drug prices.
In 2018 Dr. Van Drew was elected to Congress in New Jersey’s Second Congressional District. The district had been represented by Republican Frank LoBiondo from 1995 until his retirement. The district is the southernmost in New Jersey and the state›s largest, encompassing rural farms from Salem County to the Jersey Shore and Atlantic City. Interestingly, President Barack Obama won the district in 2008 and 2012, while President Donald Trump won in 2016.
Congressman Van Drew has demonstrated a willingness to work on a bipartisan basis, addressing issues of vital concern to the residents of his district. He and his wife have two chil- dren and one grandchild, and reside in Dennis Township.
Dr. Van Drew made impassioned remarks about the need for bi-partisan cooperation and compromise in Congress. The event, co-hosted with ADPAC, AAOMS PAC and Hogan Lovells PAC, and augmented by individual contributions from AAPD attendees, raised over $17,000.
The AAPD PAC honored Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Texas 28th) as the Legislator of the Year. Mr. Cuellar serves on the House Appropriations Committee, and supported inclusion of Medicaid dental audit report language in the FY 2020 spending bill. He was not able to attend in person due to the Super Tuesday Texas Primary.1 Therefore Immediate Past President Dr. Joseph Castellano and CEO Dr. John Rutkauskas presented the award in Mr. Cuellar’s Congressional office on Feb. 27, 2020.
The specific advocacy requests made by attendees during Capitol Hill visits were:
Provide FY 2021 funding 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 Train- ing programs including a new dental faculty loan repayment program grant cycle with preference for pediatric dentistry faculty.
As part of this effort, attendees urged House Members to sign onto a Dear Colleague letter spearheaded for the 3rd year in a row by Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Calif.-26th) that asked Members to support Title VII pediatric dentistry. Ultimately 65 House Mem- bers signed onto the letter.
Pass legislation to make the Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Pro- gram (DFLRP) non-taxable to recipients. Co-sponsor S. 359/H.R. 996.

Co-sponsor the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act (S. 560/H.R. 1379) legislation that would require all private group and individual health plans to cover the full medically necessary treatment of patients with congenital anomalies, including related dental procedures.
Thanks to strong bi-partisan support, the Senate bill currently has 40 c0-sponsors and the House bill has 300 co-sponsors. This legisla- tion is supported by a coalition of 22 dental and medical provider and patient advocacy organizations.
Co-sponsor the Resident Education Deferred Interest Act (H.R 1554), legislation that would halt interest accrual while loans are in deferment during residency training.
The REDI act currently has 85 co-sponsors.
Fact sheets used in Congressional visits are available on the AAPD website at https://
AAPD sincerely thank all those members who took time from their busy schedules to attend this important conference. Many thanks to the state and district chapters which help support residents’ attendance at the conference.
1Mr. Cuellar won the Democratic primary by a 52-48 percent margin.

Click here for a PDF version of this article.