Guest Op-Ed: Three Reasons I’m Supporting Ovide
For more than five years, it was my privilege to serve as President of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Lebanon, a component of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock system. During that time, I came to know Ovide Lamontagne well. There is no question that his character and experience are exactly what New Hampshire needs in its next Governor. That is why I am going to be voting for Ovide on November 6.
There are at least three reasons why I urge Democrats, Independents, women in business and health care professionals to do the same.
First, with his deep roots in New Hampshire, I know Ovide cares deeply about all of its citizens. Those of us who work in health care are passionately committed to caring for those in need. Ovide not only shares that value, he has lived it.
Along with his wife Bettie, Ovide is a foster parent. He has worked tirelessly over the years for numerous New Hampshire charities and non- profits, many of which are dedicated to delivering services to the poor and disadvantaged. From Easter Seals to the Campaign for Legal Services to the New Hampshire Food Bank, the list goes on and on.
Crucially important services – including health care – are delivered to New Hampshire citizens through charitable institutions. Ovide will bring to the State House not just a deep understanding of how these institutions operate, but more importantly, a first-hand appreciation of how they vitally affect the lives of the clients and patients they serve.
Second, Ovide is committed to addressing the flaws in New Hampshire’s health care delivery system. As a lawyer, Ovide spent a great portion of his career working with and counseling hospitals. I know he understands the unique challenges health care providers face.
The Medicaid program – the single largest component of the State’s budget – is supposed to provide services to the poor and certain disadvantaged populations. Yet, budget cuts by the Governor and Legislature dating back to 2008 have led to limitations on access for some Medicaid beneficiaries. Those cuts have amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars, and have included the elimination of payments under the disproportionate share hospital program to all of New Hampshire’s large hospitals. The effects of these cuts have been compounded by the imposition of the so-called Medicaid Enhancement Tax. For Mary Hitchcock, the tax required a payment to the State of $43 million in 2011 alone.
Ovide understands that this system is simply not sustainable. During the campaign, he has repeatedly made clear his commitment to fixing the Medicaid program so that program’s beneficiaries are assured access to they care they deserve.
Finally, you can believe it when you hear Ovide say that he will work with New Hampshire citizens of all viewpoints to address the State’s problems. I have seen first-hand how Ovide does exactly that. He addresses complex problems by considering a variety of points of view. Democrats and Independents can take heart in knowing that your views will be welcomed, respected and considered should Ovide become Governor.
New Hampshire is fortunate to have two fine candidates running for Governor. Between these two good choices, though, Ovide stands out. Because of who he is, and the experience he brings to the table, I know Ovide Lamontagne will be a truly exceptional Governor for all New Hampshire citizens.
Nancy Formella, a registered nurse, served as President of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Lebanon from May 2006 to November 2011. She lives in Hanover and is a registered Democrat.