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Are we willing to spend more on inmates than nursing homes?

To The Daily Sun,

As an advocate for underfunded long-term care providers, I read with interest a Sun article on Dec. 29 about the jail costs for several counties that Belknap County produced for comparison's sake.

Based upon the data, in 2017 Belknap County spent the least among counties on inmates, at an average per-inmate daily cost of $117.90. That will increase to $133.70 in 2018.

Merrimack County spent the most, at a daily cost of $284.18 for each inmate. We can compare that figure to the $170.66 daily Medicaid rate for residents being cared for in the Merrimack County Nursing Home.

At $216.46 per day, even economically-challenged Coos County spent far more on inmates than the Medicaid rates at its two county-owned nursing homes, for whom rates are $153.70 at the Coos County Nursing Hospital in West Stewartstown and $163.87 at the Coos County Nursing Home in Berlin.

A jail inmate was also worth more than a nursing home resident in Sullivan County, where the per-inmate daily cost was $186.09 compared to the Sullivan County Nursing Home’s Medicaid rate of $164.79.

Having studied corrections, I know working in jails and prisons is hard work. I have no reason to believe we should spend less feeding, housing and securing inmates.

But it is worth asking where we are as a society if we are willing to spend more on inmates than on nursing home residents. After all, New Hampshire has the nation’s second-oldest median population. The average long-stay nursing home resident is 83, compared to the national average of 80, and has dementia. He or she has, most likely, exhausted all financial resources — the price of longevity.

A year ago the Executive Council approved a 15 percent pay increase for state prison nurses, based upon difficulty in filling vacancies. Comparatively, over nine full years since July 2009, by this coming June 30 the average Medicaid rate for nursing home care in New Hampshire will have only gone up 7.6 percent. That has fueled a crisis in caregiver retention and recruitment. And the average daily Medicaid rate increase per nursing home resident on Jan. 1 was 5 cents per day.

Our state pays even toll attendants more than inadequate Medicaid reimbursement allows the Belknap County Nursing Home to pay licensed nursing assistants with 100 hours of training. Nationally, 91 percent of nursing assistants are women — many single moms. Let’s value their work as much as we do those working in other areas of government.

Brendan W. Williams

President/CEO, New Hampshire Health Care Association


  • Written by Mike Mortensen
  • Category: Letters
  • Hits: 765

The Trump tax cut will benefit poor and middle income Americans

To the Editor:

Americans could almost be excused for believing the lie that the Trump tax cuts would harm poor and middle income Americans because Democrat politicians and the mainstream media have been lying about it so persistently, enthusiastically, and authoritatively. But rational Americans have learned to question everything that Democrats, including most of the mainstream media, say.

The Trump tax cut will benefit poor and middle income Americans; even the Washington Post admits that about 8 in every 10 Americans will see a tax cut next year. Working Americans should see the benefit in their February paychecks. Only about 5 percent of Americans, almost exclusively people with incomes in the top 10-15 percent, will have a tax increase.

The standard deductions and child tax credits are greatly increased. For many Americans, perhaps millions, tax preparation will be greatly simplified so they will save hours of labor and frustration and can avoid hiring tax preparation help.

The corporate tax changes should be even more beneficial than the personal income tax changes; they improve the US business environment, slowing or stopping the movement of jobs overseas, instigating a new wave of foreign and domestic investment in the US, increasing profits which benefit investors and worker retirement plans, and most importantly by creating more and better jobs for US workers.

Democrat Senator Schumer said the corporate benefits will only go to the CEOs and not to workers, but he lies. Already many companies, even before getting the benefit from the tax cuts, have promised bonuses, increased wages, increased investment, and other increased spending to benefit workers all because of the Trump tax cuts. E.g., AT&T promised $1,000 bonuses to over 200,000 employees and a new $1,000,000,000 investment in the U.S. which will grow jobs.

Democrat Nancy Pelosi called the Trump tax cut, “Armageddon” which it should be for Democrats because all Democrat politicians voted against reducing taxes, against simplifying tax preparation, and against creating an economic environment that will provide more and better jobs for American workers.
Republicans want everyone to prosper, to have challenging and rewarding jobs, and more enjoyable lives. But Democrat politicians’ power depends on having millions of poor and dependent people; Democrat politicians’ greed for power and wealth makes them vote against policies that help people succeed and prosper. And that’s why only Republican Senators and Congressmen voted for the Trump tax cuts, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that President Trump signed before Christmas, which have already begun making Americans more prosperous, making their lives more enjoyable, and making their futures brighter.

Don Ewing

  • Written by Mike Mortensen
  • Category: Letters
  • Hits: 511