One of the AAPD’s top legislative priorities is to make Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program (DFLRP) awards non-taxable to recipients. We were delighted that legislation was introduced in the 115th Congress in 2018, and that the bills were re-introduced in the 116th Congress on Feb. 6, 2019, in conjunction with National Children’s Dental Health Month. The bill numbers are S. 359 and H.R. 996.
DFLRP was created – thanks to AAPD’s advocacy efforts – due to the significant difficulties in recruiting qualified individuals to fill faculty positions, especially acute in pediatric dentistry. A critical factor in recruiting and retaining dental school faculty from recent dental school or residency program graduates is the staggering student loan debt and income disparity with private practice.
The AAPD thanks Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y. 9th) for her continued leadership on and championing of this issue. She introduced H.R. 996 along with Congressman (and dentist) Mike Simpson (R-Idaho 2nd), Congressman (and dentist) Paul Gosar (R-Ariz. 4th), and Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-N.Y. 6th). The Senate companion bill (S. 359) was introduced by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
The AAPD is urging Congress to adopt these bills as part of any future tax legislation under consideration, and also has the strong support of both the ADA and ADEA. The AAPD has also developed a profile sheet of DFLRP pediatric dentist recipients, which is used in Congressional visits and is continually updated as new recipients are identified. This is available here.
Below is the Congressional press release concerning this legislation.
REPS. CLARKE, GOSAR, SIMPSON, MENG AND SENATORS CARDIN AND WICKER INTRODUCE BICAMERAL, BIPARTISAN TAX ABATEMENT BILL FOR DENTAL FACULTY
WASHINGTON, D.C.—This week, Representatives Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Paul Gosar, D.D.S. (R-AZ), Mike Simpson, D.M.D. (R-ID) and Grace Meng (D-NY), reintroduced the Dental Loan Re- payment Assistance Act of 2019.
H.R. 996 would exempt Title VII’s dental faculty loan repayment recipients from taxation for five years during the span of their participation in the loan forgiveness program. The bill keeps dental faculty members from having to pay potentially hefty tax bills on their federal loan repayment benefits.
Senators Cardin (D-MD) and Wicker (R-MS) introduced the companion bill, S. 359 in the Senate this week.
CLARKE: "Our community is in desperate need of talented and compassionate capable doctors, nurses and dentists, who are willing to help eliminate health disparities that plague our most underserved communities. No medical professional should have to worry about crushing student loan debt while caring for our most vulnerable populations," said Clarke. "The Dental Loan Repayment Assistance Act gives these heroes one less thing to worry about."
GOSAR: "Training our next generation of dentists is critical to the overall health of our country," said Congressman Gosar. "I’m proud to work with my colleagues on legislation that aims to remove barriers and strengthen oral health training."
MENG: "I’m proud to support Rep. Clarke’s Dental Loan Repayment Bill that would provide much needed relief for dental faculty from paying potentially hefty taxes on their federal loan repayment benefits," said Meng. "We must ensure there is a pipeline of dental professionals who are able to pursue their careers while managing the burden of student debt. I look forward to this bill’s passage through Congress."
SIMPSON: "The Dental Loan Repayment Assistance Act provides much needed relief to health professionals who serve our communities," said Congressman Mike Simpson. "As a former dentist, I am pleased to see legislation lift some of the burden off young people trying to enter the profession, especially potential pediatric dentists."
CARDIN: "We need more dentists, particularly in rural parts of Maryland and nationwide, which means we need more instructors to educate the next generation of professionals," said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance Committee. "The Dental Loan Repayment Assistance Act will strengthen recruitment efforts by reducing the tax burden that often comes with choosing a public service profession over higher-paying opportunities. I’m proud of the bipartisan, bicameral unity on this issue and encourage all of our colleagues to back this commonsense support for health communities."
WICKER: "The high cost of dental education is a significant burden for rural states as they attempt to place qualified medical professionals in the communities that need them most," Wicker said. "This legislation would help Mississippi attract and retain more young dental faculty, who could train more dentists to help address this shortage."
The dental faculty loan repayment program (DFLRP) was created due to the significant difficulties in recruiting qualified individuals to fill faculty positions, especially acute in pediatric dentistry. A critical factor in recruiting and retaining dental school faculty from recent dental school or residency program graduates is the staggering student loan debt and income disparity with private practice.