Republicans: lesser of two evils

 - 
Tuesday, December 31, 2002

In my opinion, the HME industry is
best served by the Republican party. In order to understand why, you must first look at the issues impacting our industry.

Competitive Bidding

I’m sure that no one in our industry believes competitive bidding is in our best interest. So, we must look at who introduced it. Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) introduced it, and he is arguably the most out-spoken proponent of competitive bidding. It is clear that he won’t rest on this issue.

Inherent Reasonableness

Next to competitive bidding, inherent reasonableness is the most frightening tool with which the government can infringe on our industry. Unfortunately, it is a reality due to the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. That law was approved under a Democratic administration. Keep in mind that oxygen reimbursement cuts and the beginning of the competitive bidding demonstrations were also a part of that industry-crippling law.

Our Reputation

It’s obvious to anyone involved in our industry that HME dealers have recently been vilified. The most notable instance of our reputation being tarnished was in a June 10 “Fleecing of America” segment which ran on NBC Nightly News. In this segment, HME companies are shown “ripping off” Medicare beneficiaries with outrageous prices compared to the VA contracted prices. The person most responsible for this information is Sen. Tom Harkins (D-Iowa). He feels that our industry is getting rich off the government.
HIPAA Requirements

I have not attended any industry gatherings in the past couple of years without hearing about HIPAA and the burdensome requirements placed on HME dealers due to this law. It goes without saying that HIPAA has put a large amount of stress on our industry. This law was also approved by a Democratic administration.

Mix the above facts with the long tradition of pro-business solutions favored by Republicans (opposition to government intrusion in the affairs of a small business, lower taxes for businesses, etc.), and it is easy to say that our industry is best served by the Republican party. At least, you must admit that the Republican party is the lesser of two evils.

Derek Lovesee is COO/president of Medical Equipment Specialties, Scottsbluff, Neb. HME
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