Grassroots Action Urged On Key Oral Health Issues In Washington

March 15, 2004
Passage of amendments will help increase public health funding and stop harmful cuts to SCHIP and Medicaid.

Your help is needed to contact your United States Senators to ask for their support for the Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Resolution. These amendments described below seek to increase public health funding and also to stop harmful cuts to SCHIP and Medicaid - both of which provide oral health care to millions of Americans.

Please refer to the brief script below when e-mailing or calling your senators. Tell them to support the Specter, Baucus and Harkin/Feinstein amendments to the 2005 Budget Resolution. ADHA has signed on as a supporter to these proposals along with others in Washington.

Please act today - the vote could take place immediately. We apologize for the short notice.

* Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) is offering an amendment to the FY 2005 budget resolution, which would increase overall public health funding by $2 billion. The funds would be distributed as follows:

$771 million for NIH.

$508 million for CDC, and $721 million for HRSA. The funding dedicated to HRSA would restore proposed cuts and provide additional funding to health professions programs and program services that support urban and rural underserved communities.

* An amendment to "strike the 'reconciliation instruction'" that will force an estimated $11 billion in Medicaid cuts over five years

* An amendment that will allow Congress to consider legislation later this year providing extra help to the states for Medicaid. This legislation will continue last year's increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage or FMAP. It will provide for a revenue-neutral provision (meaning Congress will have to find a way to pay for it, such as by closing a tax loophole) that could extend essential help to the states and permit them to avoid some major Medicaid cuts this July 1, when the temporary FMAP increase enacted last year is set to expire

* An amendment to ensure that State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) money that is not being used in certain states can be reallocated to states that have shortfalls and kids on waiting lists instead of reverting�unused�to the Treasury. This amendment will ensure that $1.2 billion allocated to certain states that have not been able to use all the money is sent in whole or in part to the many states who do not have enough SCHIP money. This amendment could help provide health care to hundreds of thousands of children in very low-income families.

 Sample Script:

Dear Senator Don Nickles, Senator James Inhofe

As a licensed dental hygienist and constituent, I urge you to support the Specter, Baucus Harkin-Feinstein Amendments to the 2005 Budget Resolution.

Critical public health programs have been significantly under funded for decades. A YES vote on this important amendment will help to move us in the right direction.

Thank you very much for your advocacy on this issue.

Tim Lynch

Director, Governmental Affairs, ADHA