The FY18 federal budget has been finalized and
signed into law. Dental
programs fared well in the budget, thanks to the hard work of everyone who
attended ADEA’s Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, those who responded in a timely
fashion to our Action Alerts, and the efforts of the ADEA Advocacy and
Government Relations staff. Together, we made it clear to Congress the value of
these programs for improving the overall health of the public.
ADEA was pleased to see a $175 per student
increase to the maximum Pell Grant award, an increase in funding for child care
on campus and protection for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Unfortunately, despite promises from legislators on both sides of the aisle,
the bill does not include an extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood
A memorandum on the ADEA Advocacy
site details the provisions in the Omnibus
Appropriations Act, 2018. Below are a few key programs:
- Oral health training
programs—$40.7 million ($4 million more than FY17).
- National Institute for
Dental and Craniofacial Research—$447.7 million ($22 million more than
- Health Careers Opportunity
Program—$14.2 million (same as FY17)
- Dental Reimbursement
Program—$13.1 million (same as FY17).
The Omnibus contains billions in federal funds to
address opioid abuse, including a long-sought change to a health workforce
development program. The bill provides
$3.6 billion for various programs at the Health and Human Services Department
related to opioid addiction and abuse, which represents a $2.6 billion increase
Most of that money will go to states for addiction
treatment programs. However, advocates say simply putting more money behind
treatment programs will not do much good until there are more facilities with
trained medical professionals to provide those services. Approximately 3.8 million people in the United States received
treatment for illicit drug or alcohol abuse in 2016, according to the Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
In the same year, approximately 11.8 million
people said they had misused prescription opioids or used heroin. An additional
5 million reported using cocaine, and 1.4 million used methamphetamine. There
were also roughly 16 million people who reported frequent binge drinking in
2016, though that number likely overlaps with people who reported drug use.
To encourage medical professionals to practice in
areas where they are most needed, HRSA, through the National Health Service
Corps (NHSC), will pay up to $50,000 in student loans for those willing to work
for two years at an approved site. Many
doctors, dentists and mental-health providers are eligible for the loan
The NHSC, which had $289 million in FY17,
received a $105 million increase “to expand and improve access to quality
opioid and substance use disorder treatment in rural and underserved areas
nationwide.” Within that amount, $30 million is specifically for rural
communities. Loan forgiveness is
predicated on working at a qualified facility, and facilities that only provide
addiction-treatment services are not eligible to participate.