As with previous years, the 2016 Hill Day was again tailored so that only those members who live in key legislative districts or were key advocacy volunteers for AGD were invited to attend. Meetings took place with legislators who sit on committees of jurisdiction that are important to AGD’s advocacy agenda. This year, like in previous years, included attendance by dental students who are also members of AGD.
Members advocated for:
H.R. 3323, the Dental and Optometric Care (DOC) Access Act - Introduced by Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA), the DOC Access Act prohibits dental and vision plans from dictating what a physician or dentist can charge plan enrollees for non-covered services.
H.R. 4062, the Protecting Seniors Access to Proper Care Act - The Affordable Care Act requires all dentists who prescribe to Medicare Part D beneficiaries to either opt-in or opt-out of the Medicare program beginning Feb. 1, 2017, or the prescriptions they write for their Medicare beneficiary patients will not be covered. Introduced by Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), H.R. 4062 would exempt dentists and other non-physicians who write prescriptions for Part D beneficiaries from the Medicare enrollment mandate.
Dental Student Loan Debt
H.R. 649, the Student Loan Refinancing Act - Introduced by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), H.R. 649 would allow new dentists to refinance their federal Direct Loans, Direct PLUS Loans and Direct Consolidation Loans whenever a lower interest rate is available.
H.R. 4223 - the POST GRAD Act - Introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), H.R. 4223 would reinstate graduate and professional student eligibility for the in-school interest subsidy for Federal Stafford Loans, which was eliminated in the Budget Control Act of 2011. Prior to this elimination, these loans did not accrue interest while students were in school, saving thousands of dollars in interest payments over the life of the loan and making graduate and professional studies more affordable.
Attendees listened to a keynote address by Rep. Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-GA), who is the chief sponsor of the DOC Access Act. Dr. Tracy Durham, who resides in Rep. Carter’s district, presented Rep. Carter with AGD’s Legislator of Distinction award.