Since the 118th Congress convened on January 3, 2023, the AAO has been working with our federal lobbying team at Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies and partner associations in the Organized Dentistry Coalition (ODC) to advance our federal policy priorities. The AAO’s 2023 federal activity has included:
● Presentation of orthodontists’ perspective, expertise, and work on direct-to-consumer medical care issues to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to inform the GAO DTC report that is currently in development. The report is a response to a Congressional request for which the AAO helped build support. The GAO expects to share its draft report with federal agencies for their input and response in the fall of 2023.
● Leadership of orthodontic advocacy and signing of a letter in support of the reintroduction of the REDI Act (H.R. 1202, S. 704). This bill would provide deferment of student loan interest for all orthodontic students while in residency. Representatives Brian Babin (R-TX), who is a dentist, and Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) reintroduced the legislation in the House of Representatives in February 2023 while AAO members were in Washington, D.C. during the Professional Advocacy Conference.
Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and John Boozman (R-AR) reintroduced a Senate version of the legislation in March 2023. More than 200 AAO members have sent messages to over 400 Members of Congress to request their support for this important legislation.
● Signing of a letter of support for the Oral Health Literacy and Awareness Act of 2023 (H.R. 994, S. 403), which is bipartisan legislation that would require the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to conduct a public education campaign to increase oral health literacy and awareness. The U.S. House of Representatives had approved the legislation by a vote of 369 to 58 during the previous 117th Congress.
● Support for a response to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s request for information on the health care workforce shortages across the country. The response asks the HELP Committee to focus on four critical areas: the dental team, including dental hygienists and dental assistants; student debt; diversity; and underserved areas.
● Joining with the ADA and other dental associations in support of H.R. 1422, the Strengthening Medicaid Incentives for Licensees Enrolled in Dental (SMILED) Act, sponsored by Representative Mike Simpson, a dentist. This bill would reduce the administrative burdens for dentists in Medicaid, including audits and credentialing. The goal of the bill is to encourage more dentists to enroll in, and stay in, Medicaid.
● Signing a letter in support of a Medical Loss Ratio model act being considered by the National Council of Insurance Legislators.
AAOPAC is helping to fuel our advocacy success not only in Washington, D.C. but in states throughout the country as well. Our AAOPAC Pillars of Giving are working and the AAO’s advocacy influence continues to grow through member grassroots engagement.