A few years ago, my small local hospital asked a Senate staffer if she could assist them in obtaining federal money for a new building. So she did, expediting the process by which that particular corner of northern New Hampshire was deemed to be “under-served” and thus eligible for the fed gravy. At the ribbon-cutting, she was an honored guest, and they were abundant in their praise. Alas, in the fullness of time, the political pendulum swung, her senator departed the scene, and she was obliged to take a job out of state.
Last summer, she returned to the old neighborhood and thought she’d look for a doctor. The sweet old guy with the tweed jacket in the neatly painted cape on Main Street had taken down his shingle and retired. Most towns in the North Country now have fewer doctors than they did in the 19th century, and the smaller towns have none. The Yellow Pages lists more health insurers than physicians, which would not seem to be an obvious business model. So she wound up going to the health center she’d endowed so lavishly with your tax dollars just a few years earlier. Continue reading.