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Thursday
May162013

« Federal Advocacy Update »

This week, a WSDA delegation traveled to the other Washington to participate in the ADA's annual Washington Leadership Conference. WLC is the federal equivalent of WSDA's Dental Action Day in Olympia. WSDA would like to thank Dr. Mary Jennings, Dr. Brady McDonald, Dr. Jeff Parrish, Dr. Mary Smith, Dr. Michael Spektor, and Dr. Ashley Ulmer for representing WSDA in D.C. This week WSDA had meetings with Senator Maria Cantwell, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Rep. Rick Larsen, Rep. Denny Heck, and Rep. Derek Kilmer and legislative aides for Senator Patty Murray, Rep. Suzan DelBene, and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler.

Here are the highlights of the issues that were discussed in DC:

Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act (H.R. 911): This legislation would eliminate the special treatment granted to health insurance companies within the McCarran-Ferguson law. Currently, health insurance companies are exempt from federal antitrust laws that apply to practitioners and the greater business community. H.R. 911 was introduced by Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ).

Student Loan Interest Deduction Act (H.R. 1527): This legislation will assist in easing the burden of student loan debt by increasing the deduction allowed for student loan interest. H.R. 1527 raises the current $2,500 deduction ceiling to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for joint returns. This legislation also repeals the existing phase outs based upon adjusted gross income (AGI). Currently, individuals with an AGI above $75,000 and couples with an AGI above $150,000 are not eligible for student loan interest deductions. H.R. 1527 was introduced by Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY).

Family Health Care Flexibility Act (S. 610/H.R. 1248): These bills would repeal the $2,500 cap on flexible spending accounts that was included in the Affordable Care Act. Approximately half of all dental expenditures are out of pocket expenses. S. 610 was introduced by Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) and H.R. 1248 was introduced by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN).

Coordination of Pro Bono Medically Recommended Dental Care Act (S. 466/H.R. 963): These bills would create a competitive grant program that supports dental programs which coordinate medically recommended dental care for low income individuals. Medicare currently does not pay for the coordination of medically recommended dental care. S. 466 is sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and H.R. 963 is sponsored by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH).

Protect Medical Innovation Act (H.R. 523): This legislation would repeal the medical device tax on dental equipment, materials, and supplies purchased by dentists. The dental industry estimates that the excise tax will increase the cost of dental care by $160 million annually. H.R. 523 was introduced by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN).

For more information on these bills or other federal legislative issues, please contact WSDA Director of Government Affairs Bracken Killpack at bracken@wsda.org or 800-448-3368.

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