NewsPoll: Providers have little sympathy for Wall Street

Sunday, October 5, 2008

YARMOUTH, Maine - Even though an unprecedented $700 billion bail out of the financial industry become a reality on Friday, HME providers had this to say to Wall Street: You played, you should pay.

"If you had enough money to gamble in the market, you took the chance, you lost," said one respondent to the November HME NewsPoll. "That is life in business."

The U.S. Senate passed the bail out earlier in the week 74-25. On its second try on Friday, the House of Representatives passed the measure 263-171.

Still, the taxpayer-funded bail out remains wildly unpopular among Americans, HME providers included. Of 243 poll respondents, 181 or 74% said they disagreed with the measure.

"This entire situation sickens me," wrote one respondent. "Unfortunately, the ones who got us into this problem are the ones coming up with the plan to fix it."

A majority of respondents (67%) believe a bail out won't do any good.

"The market will take care of itself," wrote one respondent. "Times will get hard, but we can survive."

But credit-squeezed respondents believe something needs to be done.

"I don't know if the proposed bail out will help, but we need to do something to free up this market," wrote John Hatch, owner of Integrated Homecare Services in Rockford, Ill. "In 30 years of business, I have never had such a difficult time in dealing with banks. I have never missed a payment; my businesses are making money; and I can personally guarantee the loans. I still cannot get an increase in my lines of credit."

Hatch wasn't the only one feeling the pinch. The worsening financial crisis has affected the ability to borrow money for a majority of respondents (66%).

"Lines of credit have been cut off and efforts to secure new lines have been unsuccessful," wrote Mark Franz from Lenexa, Kan. "That's with the strongest financials we have every presented."

Respondents like Jill Spellman, however, were part of the 34% that reported not being squeezed.

"The crisis has not affected our ability to borrow money," wrote Spellman, vice president of Oxygen One in Waukesha, Wis. "We do not lease equipment and pay our bills monthly. We have positioned ourselves well in these uncertain and trying times."