To The Daily Sun,
To comment on Roger Amsden's article in the Jan. 8, Laconia Daily Sun, one feels that an elision here, a few lacunae there and, in sum, missing the point altogether is the norm for his reporting.
It is true that I believe that the Belknap commissioners should examine the advantages and potential pitfalls of divesting itself of management of its nursing home. Without a change in the composition of the Belknap commissioners, I do not think that to be very likely.
The main point which I raised at the Wednesday meeting of the Board of Commissioners, however, was not even touched upon by Mr. Amsden.
On Monday of this week I attended a meeting in Concord. Present were senior officials from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services who touted a new plan to expand social services with temporary funding coming from the federal government. Washington intends to award $30 million a year for a total of five years to various jurisdictions as negotiated with N.H. DHHS under terms approved by Washington bureaucrats. Incidentally, those jurisdictions may not even coincide with county lines, but rather track the 13 health-care districts, thus making Belknap citizens responsible for paying for and dispensing services to people who are not county residents.
My feeling was that I have seen this movie before, wherein we are not only shortchanged in reimbursements but also subject to arcane rules which are the product of a faceless bureaucracy. Like "Rumpole of the Bailey's" termagant wife, they must be obeyed whether sensible or not. The county is in a very disadvantageous place because of Medicaid disbursements to the nursing home, a subject which requires much study and will surely reinforce the idea that we should not expand our social expenditures under the supervision of those 800-pound gorillas, Concord and Washington.
Mr. Taylor advocates for the county leading the way in providing services to keep seniors in their homes for a longer periods of time and this is indeed a suggestion with broad appeal. The question is: who pays? If history is a guide, we most assuredly cannot take for granted the fairness and equity of our state and federal governments. To advocate for greater contributions from our citizens based on a county tax system seems to me most unwise, firstly, and unfair as well.
Mr. Amsden would do well to study and report on Medicaid reimbursement formulas and then to write an objective report on same.
Following that, he might want to study and report on this marvelous new panacea from our friends at DHHS. Those reports would make for interesting reading.
Belknap Commissioner, District 2
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