What does HME provider Patrick Naeger have in common with Romney, Gingrich et al?
They're all Republicans, and they're all running for office, that's what.
With the Iowa caucuses tonight, I thought it would be appropriate to share this Q&A with Patrick Naeger, a home medical equipment provider in Missouri who's running for a state Senate seat.
This Q&A will appear in the February issue:
HME provider Patrick Naeger has been banned from the Missouri House of Representatives, so now he’s running for the state Senate. Naeger, executive vice president of Healthcare Equipment & Supply Co., was a representative for eight years, from 1995-2002, until term limits forced him out of Jefferson City. “But the fire has still been burning in my belly,” he said. So in December, he threw his hat in the ring for a newly created 3rd District Senate seat. Here’s what Naeger had to say about why being a provider makes him a good candidate and more.
HME News: Republican or Democrat?
Patrick Naeger: Republican. I’m profoundly conservative. I think conservatives are more energized than they’ve ever been because of what’s coming out of Washington and this administration. I think 2012 is going to be the year of the conservative revolution.
HME: What did you accomplish in the House and what do you hope to accomplish in the Senate?
Naeger: When most people think of a state legislator, they think of all the laws and bills that you introduce and you pass, but I think what really matters is all of the little things. It’s all of the things that you can do for the constituents, like make government more accessible and more taxpayer friendly, and hold government more accountable. That’s what I take a lot of pride in.
HME: Why does being an HME provider make you a good candidate for the Senate?
Naeger: We have terrible and challenging financial times ahead of us. Unlike the federal government, the Missouri government needs to balance its budget, so the state needs people who understand budgets, who can make payroll, and who know how to create efficiencies to save money. To be in the HME industry today, you need to be able to do all of those things and more.
HME: You’ve got a lot of work ahead of you—running a business and running a campaign.
Naeger: There’s a lot at stake. I truly believe that my children and grandchildren are not going to have the same opportunities that I was afforded, and I think it’s imperative to do something to change that. It may sound corny, but I talk to people every day who feel the same way. Our government is out of control and we need some common sense folks.
HME: What’s the political climate for HME in Missouri?
Naeger: We’ve wrangled over cuts, like in other states, but we have a bright spot in Missouri. At least Medicaid here pays attention to stakeholders. I’m living proof of that because I head up, at the pleasure of the Medicaid director, a DME subcommittee. We’ve been able to fight some of these budget cuts and to bring change that wasn’t so draconian. We’ve made the best of it.
HME: What do you look forward to about the possibility of being a senator vs. a representative?
Naeger: The House was a wonderful training ground for me. In my third and fourth terms, I was in leadership positions; in my last term, I was the No. 2 Republican. It was great, but you’re one of 163. We were able to make a huge difference and I found it be rewarding, but the Senate is a big step. You’re one of 34. It’s a whole different animal.