2017 Legislative Priorities

2017 Legislative Priorities

Our 2017 Focus

Watch this webinar to learn more about our legislative priorities for 2017 (originally presented in December 2016). 


  • Medicaid Expansion.  Virginia remains one of the few states that has not expanded Medicaid coverage to provide insurance for nearly 300,000 Virginians.  Governor McAuliffe's final budget in December 2017 included funding to expand Medicaid coverage to these uninsured Virginians. It also increased support for safety net clinics throughout the state.  See 2018 Legislative Priorities for ongoing work on this issue, and our work toward comprehensive dental benefits for all adults. 
  • Dental Hygienists Under Remote Supervision.  Legislation was passed during the 2017 session to amend and reenact a bill authorizing dental hygienists to practice, with certain requirements and restrictions, under remote supervision of a licensed dentist.  The legislation is intended to allow more hygienists to work remotely in safety net settings (FQHCs, free clinics, and others).  This legislation relates to the oral health plan goal, "The oral health workforce in Virginia adequately meets the needs of its citizens by working to the full extent of their education and training." This legislation is supported by both the Virginia Dental Hygienists' Association and the Virginia Dental Association. 


  • FAMIS Funding Renewal.  FAMIS ran out of funding at the end of September 2017.  As of January 2018, Congress is still debating its funding.  Known as the Children's Health Insurance Program or "CHIP" in DC, in Virginia, FAMIS provides affordable medical, dental and mental health coverage for more than 104,000 children and 4,600 pregnant women.  The Coalition is joining with national and state partners to advocate at the federal level to ensure those covered under Virginia's FAMIS program do not lose access to affordable, comprehensive health coverage.  Given the uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid, protecting FAMIS is more important than ever.  Our friends at the Children's Dental Health Project have a blog post that provides more details. 
  • Analyzing Health Policy Proposals.  Many of the changes the new administration and Congress are likely to consider for Medicaid, Medicare and the ACA could have significant ramifications on medical, dental and mental health coverage for Virginians.  We will continue to work at the state and federal levels to educate policy makers about the health and economic value of affordable and accessible comprehensive health care, analyze policy proposals, and advocate to ensure comprehensive health care is accessible, affordable and inclusive of oral health.  Our friends at the Kaiser Family Foundation and Manatt do a terrific job of outlining some potential policy changes. 

Our Impact

The Coalition, along with myriad state and national partners, responded to frequent threats to the Affordable Care Act (ACA); efforts to dismantle the ACA were largely blocked, thanks to the advocacy of many.  Subsequently, with the ACA laws still in place, the Coalition continued to support Medicaid expansion during 2017.  Legislation to amend and reenact a bill authorizing dental hygienists to practice, with certain requirements and restrictions, under remote supervision of a licensed dentist was passed during the 2017 session. 


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