Providers have little sympathy for Wall Street

Friday, October 31, 2008

YARMOUTH, Maine--Even though an unprecedented $700 billion bailout of the financial industry became a reality on Oct. 3, 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 bailout 74-25. On its second try on Oct. 3, the House of Representatives passed the measure 263-171.

Still, the taxpayer-funded bailout 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 the bailout won’t do any good. But credit-squeezed respondents believe something needs to be done.

“I don’t know if the bailout will help, but we need to do something to free up this market,” wrote John Hatch, owner of Integrated Homecare Services in Rochford, Ill. “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.”

The worsening financial crisis has affected the ability to borrow money for a majority of respondents (66%).

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

“We do not lease equipment and we pay our bills monthly,” wrote Spellman, vice president of Oxygen One in Waukesha, Wis. “We have positioned ourselves well in these uncertain and trying times.”