Stop thinking rationally
"We're screwed." So says Stan Collender, keynote speaker at AAHomecare's legislative update here at Medtrade this afternoon.
Fortunately, he wasn't speaking of the HME industry specifically, but rather the country at large. That's because when it comes to politics, it's anything but business as usual.
We've seen inklings of it over the last two years, but apparently, we ain't seen nothing yet.
"Compromise has been redefined as capitulation with the enemy," said Collender. "As a result, the ability of members to work with the other side is not there."
Simply put, don't expect our elected lawmakers to get much done in the 112th Congress. Lawmakers, says Collender, would rather do nothing than cross enemy lines.
That means a lot of HME providers could still lie awake at night, pondering the future. Why (aside from the obvious)? In 2011, we will see a national deficit of $1 trillion, which, sadly, is an improvement over the past 2 years. That means Congress will at fight it out over ways to reduce that number. Since Social Security is untouchable, that means Congress will continue to eye Medicare as an area to save.
On attendee asked a question that I could not here, but I'll bet it went something like this: "We are cost effective, we are part of the solution, we save money, competitive bidding sucks and will cause more problems," etc, etc etc.
The problem with that, Collender told her, was that she was thinking rationally. That's not how politics works, he told the crowd.
But actually, he did ultimately say, providers must keep on keeping on. It's constituents (providers, consumers, neighbors, everybody) who will have to maintain the voice of reason whispering in the ears of lawmakers for the next two years. Keep pushing 'em on the issues, cause if you do absolutely nothing, you really don't stand a chance.