Would politicians really choose to close hospitals in their opponents' constituencies and open them in their own? That's the question raised by this morning's Times front page report which shows that community hospitals facing the chop are largely in Tory and Lib Dem seats. It's a follow-up to the paper's earlier report about health ministers getting together with the Labour Party chairman to discuss closures.
One of those involved in the development of health policy in this government told me many months ago - and before this current controversy - that too many new hospitals had been built in northern, Labour constituencies since 1997. It was a mirror of what the Tories had done - spending and building too much in southern, Conservative seats.
Now, this pattern may not only reflect party political favours - or what the Americans call "pork barrel" politics. The prime minister has responded to Tory charges that spending's much higher in his constituency than theirs by pointing to the fact that the mortality figures are much higher in County Durham than the Home Counties.
My instinct tells me that it's in the case of marginal decisions where party politics will make a difference. Where the health or economic case rests on a knife edge, the presence of a friendly or hostile MP could - and I do emphasise, could - make the difference.
The fashionable answer to this is to "take the politics out of the NHS" by setting up an independent NHS Board. Gordon Brown has flirted with one version of this. David Cameron has proposed another. Such an idea might take party politics out of the calculations (though the board - like all quangos - would owe their existence, appointments and budget to the government of the day) but the risk is it might reduce political accountability. The debate will roll on.