Independence Day for DME: Post Election Analysis

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By John Gallagher, Vice President, Government Relations

The election season is a long, drawn-out process that puts different ideas and visions for our country to the ultimate test. After more than a year of campaign ads, political speeches and debates, the votes have been tallied, and the nation embarks into a new Congress and White House.

Regardless of a person’s political stance, a Donald Trump presidency along with the many congressional wins throughout the country was the best case scenario for the DME industry. There are several 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 noted the passion and effort of DME rural providers across the country, and I am confident that this will carry the momentum of rural issues into the lame duck session and beyond. Many Americans have expressed a general lack of trust in our government and unhappiness with the direction of the country, including concerns about the burdens of higher tax rates, rising health care costs and over regulation.

The amount of regulation that has crippled businesses across the economy, including DMEs, will quickly be addressed by the GOP-controlled Congress with Trump sitting in the Oval Office. As a businessman, Trump will have a unique position as our President and an exceedingly pro-business agenda.         

“I think you will find that (Congress) will put on Trump’s desk repeal of regulation after regulation, and I think you will see him sign them.”  Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said on "Morning Joe."

CMS has continued to force regulations on independent businesses that are harmful to jobs and patient access. These negative 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.

America Supports DME Champions

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.

Rural or Urban - Let’s Come Together and Ride the Momentum 

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 this election and push it forward into the Trump administration.

DME plays an important role in the health care community. Independent providers are focused on providing the highest quality of care in order for some of the most vulnerable in our health care 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.

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