Iowa rocks the House

Thursday, June 23, 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa - In early May, Iowa became the largest state to have 100% of its U.S. representatives on board with H.R. 1041. 

"We're just delighted," said Michael Reinemer, vice president of communications and policy for AAHomecare. "If we had that kind of support and enthusiasm everywhere in the U.S., this bill would sail through Congress."

Iowa has five reps in the House. Other states with 100% support are West Virginia, with three reps, Maine, with two, and Vermont, with one.

Iowa also managed to have all of its reps signed on for last session's competitive bidding repeal bill, H.R. 3790. The relationships built during that effort came into play for H.R. 1041, said John Gallagher, vice president of government relations for The VGM Group in Waterloo.

"If you expect to get something from your member of Congress and you've never met with them, never talked to them, never sent them a letter, that's probably not a good plan," Gallagher said. "You've got to start making that relationship now." 

Stakeholders also credit their success in Iowa to a consistent message, support from member organizations and grassroots efforts. Providers need to make being politically active part of how they do business, said provider Terry Flatt.

"Anyone in our industry can make a difference," said Flatt, Iowa state chairman for the Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services (MAMES) and executive vice president of Hammer Medical Supply in Des Moines. "Jump in with both feet and don't be intimidated by the process."