Recapping the Mid-term Elections for the HME Industry

Published in Member Communities on December 03, 2018

By John Gallagher, Vice President, VGM Government Relations

The commercials, phone calls, social media advertising, and text messaging have ended as the mid-term elections have come and gone.

With the special elections and every recount being completed, we know that Republicans will maintain control of the United States Senate, and Democrats will reclaim control of the House. Many strong HME advocates on Capitol Hill maintained their seats, but the industry still lost a few consistent HME supporters through defeats or retirements.

While this is not a complete list of supporters, here is a breakdown of key members who will be returning in the 116th Congress in 2019 and who will be moving on:

What HME Supporters Won Their Races?

In the House, Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), and Peter Welch (D-Va.)  are just a few of the consistent HME supporters who were able to keep their seats.

In the Senate, Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), newly elected Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), and newly elected Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) will all serve in the 116th Congress.

One newly elected member who has been a strong supporter of the HME industry, Dan Meuser (shown in the center in the accompanying photo), a Republican from the 9th District of Pennsylvania, will be sworn in for the 116th Congress. This is a great win to have a member of Congress who has spent more than 20 years in the industry prior to becoming the Pennsylvania Revenue Secretary.

Which Supporters Did the HME Industry Lose?

A few retirements and losses contributed to the HME industry losing a few consistent supporters in the halls of Congress: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) is being replaced by current Rep. Kevin Cramer (Rep.); Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) was elected to serve as governor of South Dakota; and Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and John Duncan (R-Tenn.) are retiring at the end of the current Congress.

Where Does the Grassroots Movement Go From Here?

Overall, as it typically does, the mid-term elections sway away from a president’s political party. It is usually a matter of how big or small this swing is. The GOP was vulnerable to losing the House, while Democrats were not well positioned to take back the Senate. When it is all over with, it appears that the GOP will pick up three seats in the Senate.

With the retirements, seat changes, and upsets, there are many new members of Congress who the HME industry must engage. There are going to be plenty of new opportunities to share the important story that this industry has to tell, and it is something that VGM will be gearing up to do as the new Congress convenes in January. In the meantime, congratulate those who have won, thank the ones who have lost, and welcome the new legislators by inviting them and their staffs to meet with you.

HME is extremely non-partisan in the eyes of lawmakers due to the work of grassroots suppliers and patients engaging with their members of Congress. With dozens of new members entering office, we look forward to working on both sides of the political isle to advocate on behalf of VGM’s membership of independent suppliers and the beneficiaries they serve.

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