Mergers & Acquisitions: Behind TrumpCare

Q. How will TrumpCare Affect HME?
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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A. There are a lot of unknowns for a Trump presidency and what TrumpCare (to coin a phrase) will eventually look like. While his habit of contradicting himself makes it difficult to make exact predictions, there is one clear indication of direction: his appointments, specifically Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Price, who is himself a physician, has been a long-time champion of the HME industry. In the past, he has introduced several bills to limit or repeal the scope of competitive bidding and has also introduced a bill to create an alternative called the market-pricing program.

According to Price's congressional website, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would contract with an "auction expert" through a competitive process to develop and design the implementation of the program. At the same time, an independent "market monitor" will continue to evaluate the program, identify weaknesses and recommend changes.

In other words, rather than forcing companies to bid against each other to reach the lowest possible cost, Price's system will allow the government (or, now, specifically Price himself) to assign winners based upon his judgment of who deserves to win the business.

Thus, from the perspective of the HME industry, thisis the equivalent of having "one of our own" on the inside. While it's not clear how other segments of the healthcare industry will fare under TrumpCare, I suspect that the HME industry, for a change, will have a fighting chance to improve.

Bradley Smith is managing director/partner at Vertess. Reach him at bsmith@vertess.com.

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