Specter switches, Sebelius confirmed

Sunday, May 31, 2009

WASHINGTON--Some key political moves took place in Washington in late April that could pay dividends for the HME industry in its efforts to turn back national competitive bidding. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., announced April 28 he would switch from the Republican to the Democratic party. Specter has often voted with the Democrats and is expected to maintain his moderate stance. “He has been a friend to home care and we look forward to continuing that relationship with the Senator,” said Walt Gorski, vice president of government relations for AAHomecare. “He has made perfectly clear that healthcare reform is a critical issue for him, and he will be an integral player in the development of any healthcare reform package.” Also on April 28, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was confirmed as secretary for HHS. Although her first priority is dealing with the recent swine flu crisis, she has made clear her commitment to healthcare reform, said John Gallagher, vice president of government relations for The VGM Group. “If they don’t get it done early, it won’t happen,” he said. In her confirmation hearings before the Senate Finance Committee in April, Sebelius indicated she planned a review of NCB.