Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists Bulletin Spring 2021 - 16

PCSO News and Events

Advocacy and Legislative Update

2021 AAO Professional Advocacy
Conference Update

Dr. Frank Beglin
Carson City, NV
PCSO Bulletin Contributor
PCSO Representative to Council on
Governmental Affairs

On February 22 and 23, 2021, the American
Association of Orthodontists (AAO) held its
annual Professional Advocacy Conference, not in
Washington, DC, but-you guessed it-virtually
with Zoom. A total of 87 AAO member doctors, including 37 residents, participated in this two-day
event. The PCSO was represented by four active
members and five residents. Zoom meetings with
legislators and staff took place, during which the
AAO's federal political agenda was advocated for
by members.
This year, four main issues were presented during
meetings with legislators.
Ease the Burden of Student Loan Debt
To reduce student loan interest and strengthen
repayment, legislators were asked to pass the
Student Loan Refinancing and Recalculation
(SLRR) Act (H.R. 1899).
The Student Loan Refinancing Act (H.R. 2186)
would allow for federal student loan refinancing
and residency deferments.
The Student Loan Tax Elimination Act (S. 1696)
would also eliminate origination fees on all federal direct loans.
The Resident Education Deferred Interest (REDI)
Act (H.R. 1554) would provide interest-free
deferment for all orthodontic students while in
residency.

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Protecting Patients from the Risks of Direct-toConsumer Treatment
The AAO has established a set of teledentistry
parameters to ensure the health and safety of
patients who are receiving orthodontic services
remotely. The parameters include an in-person
examination prior to starting any treatment.
These parameters have been adopted or used
as guidelines by several state dental boards.
Last year, at the request of the AAO's lobbyist
a letter, signed by nine members of Congress
(five dentists, and four physicians), was sent to
the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and
Drug Administration to express their concerns
regarding certain direct-to-consumer practices
and patient safety concerns in the orthodontics
space.
Improving Healthcare Policy
Legislators were asked to strengthen and expand
consumer-directed healthcare options by passing
the RAISE Health Benefits Act (S.503/H.R.1366).
The RAISE Act would increase contributions to
$5000/year, add $500 for dependents older than
two years, and remove the " use it or lose it " rule.
Legislators were asked to promote patient access
by passing the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act
(S.560/H.R.1379). This would require all group and
individual health plans to cover medically necessary services related to the diagnosis or treatment
of a congenital anomaly or birth defect.

The Expanding Access to Graduate Education
Act of 2019 (H.R. 3334) would permit the use of
remaining Pell eligibility toward graduate programs.

Most of these pieces of legislation have bipartisan
support in both chambers of congress. The advocacy efforts of AAO members were well received
and will hopefully encourage Congress to act on
these issues.

The Dental Loan Repayment Assistance Act
(H.R. 996/S.359) would exclude certain federal
loan repayments made to dental faculty from
being included as gross income and prevent
a potentially hefty tax bill on those federal
loan repayments defined in the Public Health
Service Act.

Helping Protect Staff, Patients, and Small
Businesses from COVID-19
Congress can help orthodontists maintain
access to high-quality and affordable supplies
of personal protective equipment (PPE) so that
we can treat patients in a safe and effective
fashion.

PCSO Bulletin    Spring 2021



Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists Bulletin Spring 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists Bulletin Spring 2021

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