December 1944, Belgium – Low on supplies and ammunition, U.S. troops had been able to stop cold everything that had been thrown at them from all directions. Through the winter temperatures, the fighting never stopped. The troops received word that the German commander demanded U.S. troops honorably surrender in an effort to save them from total annihilation.
The German commander received this reply from General McAuliffe and the U.S. troops, “NUTS!” On December 26 General Patton’s 3rd Army broke through the German lines, allowing supplies to be flown in and the wounded to be evacuated.
The story of “The Battle of the Bulge” as told today.
We need to take inspiration from this story and apply to our life. Late last night, our hopes and dreams were deflated as the omnibus bill was released. Industry leaders were up all hours of the night scouring the omnibus bill for any mention of Medicare relief. What will we say in response? Same as the U.S. troops responded to the German commander. NUTS! We shall persevere!
We have come so far, and we cannot give up now. We need to continue to educate our legislators on the catastrophic effects these Medicare programs are having on DME suppliers and Medicare beneficiaries. We need to continue building relationships with members of Congress.
So many grassroots activities happened this year. Here are just a few.
Back in March of 2014, MAMES leaders Rose Schafhauser and Greg Lord of Great Plains Rehab together with Tom Powers of VGM and many others held an open house meeting with Sens. Heitkamp and Hoeven and Rep. Cramer. Kay Johnson and other MAMES members hosted a meeting with Sen. Thune to gain his interest. Since these meetings in North and South Dakota, these legislators have been in our corner. Iowa also had support of both their senators after MAMES members Leila Wilkerson, Colleen Brabec, Julie Creery and Kurt Johnson spent many hours on the phone with Sens. Grassley and Ernst offices.
Sen. Crapo has been a key to the process since he sits on the Senate Finance Committee. Thanks to meetings and relationships built by Big Sky AMES and Norco, Sen. Crapo was one of the first cosponsors of S.2312. Montana’s complete congressional delegation signed on following in-district meetings.
The group from ADMEA, led by Don Jones, was able to have numerous meetings with all of the Alabama delegation. PAMES members had many in-district meetings with key legislators including Sen. Wyden and Cathy McMorris-Rodgers. UTMED members and Jay Broadbent built relationships with Sen. Hatch’s office. Doug Coleman and CAMES worked tirelessly with his CO and WY congressional leaders.
Thad Connally and KMESA members held many in-district meetings. Thad recently met with the ever-powerful Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell. Karyn Estrella and HOMES members successfully met with New England leaders. WAMES leaders met with Sen. Baldwin recently and gained her support. They also had a conference call with Rep. Paul Ryan’s office. The list goes on and on. Other grassroots activities include over 5000 messages in three weeks sent to members of Congress through VGM’s DCLink.
All of you deserve a standing ovation. But these incredible acts cannot be for nothing.
This battle is not over. If CMS and Congress ask us to surrender, we say “NUTS!”