To The Daily Sun,

County taxpayers are being "asked" to give a gift to the Community Health Services Network, LLC.

The headline in The Laconia Daily Sun exclaims, “Some reps reluctant to part with county cash.” Let me start with clarifying what 'county cash' actually is. We are referring to money that is euphemistically called "fund balance," which is money that has accumulated from excess taxation. When appropriations are made for a budget year and not all of that money is spent, the remainder is held in reserve and may be used to offset future spending.

The Board of Commissioners have set a policy to target a fund balance of $3.5-5 million. If nothing were to change from where we stand today, we can project the year-end fund balance to come in well below board's desired goal. It should be noted that the board has recommended giving over $1 million to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) from fund balance in direct conflict with their stated policy. One need not look terribly far back in the headlines (“Despite credit ratings drop, no rush to improve county finances” July 4, 2018) to see the board pointing a bony finger at the delegation for spending from fund balance to spare the taxpayers from an increase in taxes.

If fascism came to New Hampshire, what would it look like? It would look like a well-meaning program offering assistance to help with a difficult problem, it would look like the Integrated Delivery Network. It would replace the bureaucracy of government with an unaccountable corporate structure and fund it with taxpayer dollars.

If there is anything which you can count on from government, it is broken promises; "if like your doctor..." The better part of a century ago the federal government established the Social Security system to provide for retirement of our seniors. And with the best of intentions expanded that program to cover health care for seniors and the disabled through Medicare and Medicaid. Now this money, intended to provide care to our seniors and the disabled, is going to be siphoned off and given to a private corporation which is building a network to treat Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and mental health issues. While these might be worthy goals they are taking millions of dollars from Social Security and Medicare.

The so called 'windfall' reported in The Laconia Daily Sun is in fact no such thing. The money received from ProShare is the federal share of monies spent in our county nursing home to provide care for Medicaid patients. The county taxpayers provided the funding for Medicaid patients, and the federal government refunded the county for its share. Very simply, that was to be expected. What is different this year is a new method of calculating the amount that we spent caring for Medicaid patients in our county nursing home, for which we owe a hearty "thank you" to Henry Lipman. Nonetheless, this is taxpayer money which has become part of the fund balance.

There are absurd claims being made that this gift to (ultimately) the Community Health Services Network, LLC will not cost the taxpayers a dime. If approved by the delegation, over one million tax dollars will be given to DHHS, which will be magically matched with one million Medicaid dollars, and given to a private corporation, and in theory provide services to those with SUD and mental health issues. That two million dollars will not be available to offset taxation in the county in the coming year, nor available to our seniors and disabled as promised under Social Security and Medicare.

Finally, when your loved one goes to the Community Health Services Network, LLC to get care for their SUD or mental health issue, will they actually get the care they need? One thing is for sure the Community Health Services Network, LLC will be billing Medicaid for the services provided, turning your pain and suffering into "non-profits."

Rep. Mike Sylvia

Belmont

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