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Lead sponsor Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) at the AAO's 2017 Professional Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C
On July 25, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Act of 2018 (H.R.6311), which includes a key component of the RAISE Act. The Responsible Additions and Increases to Sustain Employee (RAISE) Health Benefits Act, for which the AAO has been advocating for several years, called for elimination of the “use it or lose it rule” - under which employees forfeit their flexible spending account (FSA) balance at the end of the year.  This provision has now passed the House as part of H.R. 6311.

If the bill becomes law, an employee’s hard-earned FSA contribution would stay theirs from year to year, for an amount up to three times the annual limit before needing to be spent down.  This would allow individuals and families to save resources that could help them handle current and future medical and orthodontic expenses, aiding patients of AAO members who use FSAs to pay for their orthodontic treatment.

During the floor debate, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) spoke in support of the provision and highlighted the bipartisan nature of the policy. He explained the benefits that it would offer to the approximately 44 percent of employees that have access to a FSA, allowing individuals to rollover up to $7,950 each year.

Dr. Brent Larson, AAO president, is quoted in Rep. Stivers’ announcement about the passage of the legislation. The AAO will continue advocating for passage of the bill in the Senate.
 
 
Jul. 27, 2018

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Pictured, left to right: Dr. Layne McCord (RMSO), Dr. Deborah Lien (MSO), Representative Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Dr. Kevin Horner (MSO) and AAO Associate General Counsel Sean Murphy.
On July 24, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Protect Medical Innovation Act (H.R. 184), an AAO-endorsed bill that would permanently repeal the medical device tax.
 
The AAO, in coordination with a diverse coalition of stakeholders, has long advocated for medical device tax repeal. In 2010, Congress imposed a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturer and importers. In practice, this tax has been passed along to small business medical providers, like orthodontists, who have been forced to choose between absorbing the cost or passing the cost along to their patients.

Earlier this year, we were grateful that Congress suspended the medical device tax through calendar year 2019. If the Protect Medical Innovation Act is enacted, the medical device tax would not be reinstated.
 
We applaud Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Ron Kind (D-WI) for their leadership on this issue and recognize the 277 bipartisan members of the House who co-sponsored the bill. We consider House passage of the Protect Medical Innovation Act to be a significant win for AAO members and patients, and we will continue to advocate for Senate passage so that this bill can become law.
 
Jul. 26, 2018

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The 2018 AAO Professional Advocacy Conference took place in Washington, D.C. May 8-9, with 150 members - a record number - in attendance. Among the participants were 44 orthodontic residents.

The Advocacy Conference program began on May 8 with intensive preparation for a day on Capitol Hill visiting legislative offices. Participants heard presentations from AAO staff and legislative counsel, as well as by guest speakers who included:
 
● Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS)
● Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
● Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL)
● Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH)
● Janice S. Lee, DDS, MD, FACS (Clinical Director at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research/NIH)
● Michael Graham (Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs at the American Dental Association)
 
About a dozen additional legislators also stopped by a dessert reception that evening to greet AAO members.

The following day, teams of participants departed for Capitol Hill to meet with legislators and legislative staff to discuss key issues of concern to AAO members including AAO-supported legislation to reduce the student debt burden for orthodontic graduates.
and passage of the RAISE Act to increase the annual cap on Flexible Spending Account contributions.  The AAO directed its federal lobbyist in preparing the original draft of the Responsible Additions and Increases to Sustain Employee (RAISE) Health Benefits Act in order to increase the maximum dollar amount that orthodontic patients may use to help pay for treatment.

The efforts of the Advocacy Conference participants likely helped produce a positive result two months later, when the House Committee on Ways & Means approved a key element of the RAISE Act:  the elimination of the “use it or lose it rule,” under which employees forfeit their flexible spending account (FSA) balance at the end of the year.
Read More about the Ways and Means Committee Action on the RAISE Act

Participants Reacted Positively to the Advocacy Conference Experience 

The AAO will use the responses and comments from an in-depth evaluation of the 2018 Professional Advocacy Conference, that was completed by most participants, to guide planning of future conferences.  Among aspects of the conference rated by participants were the following:

● 85 percent of participants felt sufficient time was devoted to preparation for the Capitol Hill meetings.  (This year’s preparation was somewhat abbreviated due to the fact that the conference began at the conclusion of the 2018 Annual Session, which was May 4-8 in Washington, D.C.)

● 100 percent of participants rated the preparation materials that they received for the conference as excellent or good.

● 96.2 percent of participants believed that their participation in the conference helped them present the AAO’s positions.

● 74.6 percent participants plan to become more politically active in the future, including 76.9 percent at both state and federal levels and 20.5 percent at the state level.


 
 
 
Jul. 23, 2018

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If you are attending the 30th Annual Graduate Orthodontic Residents Program (GORP), be sure to meet AAO leaders and staff and participate in a variety of prize drawings and other AAO-sponsored activities.

GORP 2018 will be Thursday, August 2 – Sunday, August 5. The meeting, which will host approximately 500 orthodontic residents from the United States and Canada, will be held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. A long-time sponsor of GORP, the AAO this year increased its support from $10,000 to $75,000. 

During the meeting, share your perspective and ask questions of AAO representatives at the Friday-evening GORP Picnic and at the following:

● The Golf Outing at Stonebridge.  Dr. Brent Larson, AAO president, and Dr. Gary Inman, president-elect, will participate in the event.

● The Peddle Pub brewery tour in downtown Ann Arbor.  Lauren Carr and Brandon Hackworth of the AAO’s education and membership development team will join residents for this event.

● The AAO exhibit booth: The AAO booth will be staffed on Saturday and Sunday by the leaders and staff listed above and by Dr. Daniel Keith, chair of the AAO Council on New and Younger Members.

Enjoy Games and Drawings at the AAO Booth
While visiting the AAO booth, enter to win an “all-inclusive” package to the 2019 Annual Session in Los Angeles, including a four-night stay at the headquarters hotel and tickets to premium events. One winner will be chosen (who must be an AAO member).  

In addition, GORP attendees who are either already AAO members, or who apply for membership, will be eligible to play AAO Plinko. Plinko Board prizes will include PopSockets phone stands, LED selfie lights, cell phone wallets and Starbucks gift cards.

And be sure to check out:

● The AAO-sponsored TapSnap photo booth during the GORP welcome reception on Thursday evening. Have your photo taken with digital props and backgrounds and receive printed copies of your photos.
 
AAO flash drives (in your conference bag), pre-loaded with information about AAO resources that you can use now and in practice.
 
Learn more about GORP by visiting www.gorportho.com.  Also, GORP is using the Events section of the AAO app to house the meeting schedule and speaker information.
 
Jul. 18, 2018

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Questions? Call 800-424-2841 or e-mail aaomembers@aaoinfo.org

To pay dues online, follow these steps:

● Go to aaoinfo.org/members;
● Mouse over the Member Center tab at far right;
● Click on Pay My Dues/Open Invoices on the pulldown;
● Log-in when prompted to do so;
● To make a payment, click on Select Item and then follow the check-out process to pay;
● To view your entire invoice, click on Download Dues Invoice w/ Member Card.

View a video of the payment process.


You may also pay by phone. Call Member Services at (800) 424-2841.

Thank you for being a member of the AAO!


 
Jul. 18, 2018

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Questions? Call 800-424-2841 or e-mail aaomembers@aaoinfo.org