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2016 Washington Conference

Event Date: 
December 30, 2015

This text will be replaced with the slideshowDTA members from across the country attended the annual Washington Conference (April 26-27), meeting with 33 U.S. Senators and Representatives from their home districts to discuss Americans’ oral health, the business case for oral health and continuing efforts to repeal the Sunshine Act and Medical Device Tax.

“The key take-away here is that consistency of messaging and purpose is having an impact,” said Dan Perkins, CEO of AEGIS Communications. “I have been going to The Hill for several years now and I see an awareness building of both key oral health issues but also a respect for the commitment of DTA and others to continue making the time to educate and advocate on behalf of these issues. We are gaining recognition and trust which in turn builds credibility for our business, healthcare and economic impact messaging.”

Several 2015 legislative victories can be partially attributed to DTA members educating their representatives about important issues that affect the dental industry including:

  • Medical Device Excise Tax Being Suspended for 2016 and 2017
  • Research and Experimentation Credit Made Permanent
  • Increased Expensing Limits Under Section 179 Made Permanent
  • Extension of Bonus Depreciation For Qualified Property

During the 2016 Washington Conference, members were briefed prior to their Capitol Hill visits on the legislative priorities and talking points for improving Americans’ oral health. Dr. Martin Regalia, chief economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce covered the current state of the U.S. economy and future predictions. John Sandell, associate tax counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee subcommittee on taxation, discussed the process that went into the Medical Device Tax being delayed and projections on 2016 legislative priorities. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-New York) talked with members about the upcoming presidential election and the likelihood of repealing the Medical Device Tax. The Federal Group President Patrick Cooney prepped members for what to expect when meeting with legislators and staff and the important issues on tap for this year—specifically:

  • The fact that oral health is an integral part of overall health and should be treated as such.
  • The eye-opening research uncovered in DTA’s Business Case for Oral Health that shows how getting Americans to visit the dentist each year could improve their heath and save billions in healthcare costs.
  • That the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA) should increase the threshold for reporting from every $10 transaction to $200 and eliminate the requirement to aggregate payments.
  •  While the two year suspension of the Medical Device Tax was a good first step, Congress should repeal the tax.

In addition, Washington Conference attendees learned about a new bill introduced by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) that amends Title XI of the Social Security Act to exempt from manufacturer transparency reporting any transfer of value to a covered recipient if it is intended solely to provide continuing medical education. If it passes, this bill could have a positive impact for our members in their educational efforts. In addition, the Medicaid MCO final rule was released and it requires states to establish network adequacy for health professionals, including dentists.

The outreach on Capitol Hill wasn’t limited to only in-person visits. A number of DTA members sent emails to their Senators and Representatives in conjunction with the Washington Conference. It’s this extended outreach that has had and will continue to have an impact.

“The visits on Capitol Hill continue build on the conversation that oral health care is vital to the health care policies of the United States,” said Bob Savage, Vice President and CFO of Drake Precision Dental Laboratory, Inc. “Even though current issues such as the Medical Device Tax effect the dental industry, the continuous update and discussions with our elected officials allows us to bring clarity and understanding to the systemic connections and importance of oral healthcare in the overall healthcare of Americans. Through proper policies and initiatives billions of healthcare dollars can be saved. The visits last week continue to provide a framework for these discussions and bring about greater understanding by our congress on these vital issues.”