Linde of Germany to buy Lincare. SCOTUS upholds ACA. What’s the bigger story?


It’s been a busy morning here at HME News world headquarters.

In case you didn’t see the news reports late yesterday, Linde of Germany is rumored to be bidding to buy Lincare for $3.4 billion. Managing Editor Theresa Flaherty is making calls on that as we speak. She’s already gotten this interesting piece of speculation: Lincare never put out a shingle; Linde of Germany came knocking on its own.

And I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the U.S. Supreme Court this morning announced its decision to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). For the HME industry, that means all HME-related provisions included in the ACA, like a provision to include an additional 21 cities in the competitive bidding program, stand.

So what’s the bigger story for the HME industry?

Funny you should ask. I was wondering the same thing when I was tweeting furiously, along with everyone else seemingly, about the court’s decision.

At first, I thought the Lincare story hands down. I’ve had four providers and other stakeholders email me yesterday and today about this possible deal. What does it mean when the only national HME provider still buying other providers is bought, one asked? What if Linde of Germany is trying to enter the HME market in the United States because of—not in spite of—competitive bidding, one asked?

These are important questions.

But now I’m thinking the ACA decision is the bigger story.

Sure, I never thought the chances of the ACA decision impacting the industry’s competitive bidding situation for the better were very good (ask Mike Sperduti), but when you start looking at the HME industry as a community of mostly small businesses and you start thinking about how the ACA could change and affect them in that role, good and bad, things start to get a little heady.

With Theresa working on the Lincare story and Associate Editor Elizabeth Deprey already teed up for today’s Open Door Forum on the new PMD demonstration, I need to start making calls on this ACA decision.

It could be the biggest story this week, even for the HME industry, and I have a lot of homework to do.