Hobson-Tanner bill: 'Everything else doesn't matter'

Sunday, February 12, 2006

WASHINGTON - The HME industry has pulled in another nine co-sponsors for H.R. 3559, a bill it believes will lessen the blow of national competitive bidding.

AAHomecare, state associations and member groups now have 71 legislators onboard to support the Hobson-Tanner bill.

But there's still a lot of work to do. The industry predicts at least 200 co-sponsors are needed to get Congress to act on the bill.

With the oxygen cap a done deal, the VGM Group plans to focus all lobbying efforts on competitive bidding, said John Gallagher, vice president of government relations.

"Everything else doesn't matter," he said.

If the industry doesn't do anything about competitive bidding, Gallagher said, there will be fewer providers around to worry about the oxygen cap and other reimbursement cuts. Competitive bidding will eliminate 40% to 60% of providers, he said.

The industry, Gallagher said, now needs to make competitive bidding an "identifiable issue" for beneficiaries--something it did successfully, some say for the first time, in its grassroots efforts against the oxygen cap.

Several state associations and Pride Mobility's Wayne Grau, who is touring the country to gain co-sponsors for the Hobson-Tanner bill, were instrumental in signing on the most recent group of legislators, according to AAHomecare.