Observation Deck

Independence Day for DME

Congress and the President-elect will address regulations hurting DME.

The election season is a long, drawn-out process that puts different ideas, visions for the nation to the ultimate test. The election of President-elect Donald Trump concluded over a year’s worth of campaign ads, political speeches, and now America is moving forward into a new Congress and White House.

For many reasons, regardless of a person’s political stances, a Trump presidency along with the many congressional wins throughout the country was the best case scenario for the DME industry.

There are many things that the American people can take away from Trump winning the election, but one may stand out more than the rest: that the voice of rural America is louder than ever. Congress has seen the passion and effort of DME rural providers across the country, and I am confident that this will carry momentum of rural issues into the next Congress.

Aching for Change

Many Americans have been unhappy about the direction of the country, and that comes with the burdens of over-regulation, higher tax rates, rising healthcare costs and a lack of trust in our government. Trump has tapped into something like no other candidate has, which is that the American people are mad and that enough is enough; it is time for real change.

Republicans and Democrats alike are tired of the Washington, D.C., machine, and no matter how someone might feel about it, Donald Trump is now President-elect Trump. The amount of regulation that has crippled businesses across the economy, including DME, will quickly be addressed by the GOP-controlled Congress with Trump sitting in the oval office. President-elect Trump has a unique position as a businessman and will have an exceedingly pro-business agenda.

As Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kent.) said on Morning Joe, “I think you will find that [Congress] will put on Trump’s desk repeals of regulation after regulation, and I think you will see him sign them.” CMS has continued to force regulations on independent businesses that are harmful for jobs and patient access. These harmful rules and regulations have been on the radar of Congress for the past few years and with a Trump presidency, businesses will have the opportunity to thrive.

House and Senate races have also shown to be in favor of rural America as a swath of DME industry champions, some facing difficult battles to keep their seat, will be heading back to Capitol Hill. Among the many returning for the 115th Congress are Rep. Tom Price, M.D. (R-Ga.), future Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.), Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Rep. Rod. Blum (R-Iowa), and many others.

If your member of Congress won, take the time to congratulate them on a victory, and remind them of the issues DME providers, particularly in rural America are facing. Moving into the 115th Congress, the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, which DME was used as a pay-for, will be front and center and something that will open up great opportunity for long-term reforms in the industry. Trump’s forte is getting things done in a more efficient and competitive way, something that does not bode well for the competitive bidding program as it stands today. Providers understand the savings that DME provides to the Medicare system, and Congress is truly grasping that as well. With a new administration leading the executive branch flushing out bad, costly programs, competitive bidding is a perfect match.

One thing is for certain: our nation is moving forward into the next presidency and Congress. With the GOP having control of both the House and Senate, Republicans will have to prove to the American people that they can govern the nation in an effective way. For Donald Trump, he must bring the country together, as it happens every election, and be prepared to lead the country to prosperity. Our republic was crafted to distribute power throughout the branches of government.

Continued Push

For some who may be upset with a Trump victory, I ask that you give him the chance. For those providers in urban areas and in CBAs, the success of these efforts will extend to them as well with the many key reforms that reach every provider across the nation. Let’s build upon the success that rural America had and push it forward into the Trump administration.

DME plays an important role in the healthcare community. Independent providers are focused on providing the highest quality of care in order for some of the most vulnerable in our healthcare system to stay out of a costly hospital stay and enjoy life to the fullest. The industry must seize the opportunity to change the way things are done, and Donald Trump offers that opportunity.

Our beloved VGM founder, the late Van Miller, would have been elated with the prospect of a Trump administration as it embodies a huge victory for “the little guy.” That was his vision when he started VGM Group, Inc.: helping the people who were counted out with the deck stacked against them. Now, with the grassroots network of providers and industry stakeholders who actively pursue necessary reforms, we collectively have a chance to make sure the employees and patients of our businesses live happy and healthy lives. Let’s come together and make the most of it.

This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

John Gallagher is the vice president of Government Relations at HME member service organization and buying group VGM Group Inc., where he advocates on behalf of the industry. To learn more about VGM Government Relations visit vgmdclink.com, where you can also read additional commentary and find industry advocacy resources.

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