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I'm Sick and Tired
of being Sick and Tired
By Michael Fredrickson

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of General Manager Michael Fredrickson. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Names can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.

Of talk about health care crisis

Of people talking about the United States of America having a health care crisis. We have the very best health care in the world. What we have is a health insurance crisis because we have too much government regulation.

There are literally thousands upon thousands of mandated coverages that are DIFFERENT FOR EVERY STATE.

If you wanted to, you could not open a health insurance company and go around to every business in Fort Bend and say, ďI am offering health insurance plans, but if you have a bunch of people with pre-existing conditions then I wonít write your company a policy.í

When I say pre-existing, I am talking about every conceivable ailment out there. When I was in high school, the seismic data processing company I worked for had a health insurance policy. My co-workerís wife got pregnant but maternity was not covered.

Today, there is not any ďfull-serviceĒ health insurance plans that donít cover maternity. They call this spreading the risk. So, if I wanted to offer my employees a health plan and told them in advance ďour policy doesnít cover maternityĒ and have a low-cost health plan, I could not do that because there is no such plan allowed.

By the way, many of the HMO, PPO, group plans, etc. let you go to the doctor for $20 or $30 office visits. What is up with that? Twenty-five years ago when I went to the doctor without insurance it was at least $45 to $65. Today, that same office visit must be $100 to $140. So who pays the difference? Is it the insurance company or is it a combination of doctor discounting and insurance?

Then, when I go to the pharmacy I get a prescription filled for the same $20 to $30. Again, who is making up the difference? And all you hear about is how a certain segment of our population canít afford prescription drugs and may have to resort to eating dog food or getting their drugs.

Next time you sit down to watch TV, count the number of drug commercials you see in one hour. Every channel that has programming for our demographic will have at least four per hour. Obviously people can afford prescription drugs or the companies would not be producing and paying for these commercials.

If each state can regulate what health policies can cover, why canít they regulate what they CANíT or donít cover. So, our HMOs, etc. donít have to cover maternity, flu, headache, HIV or even a broken bone. Maybe it would basically cover evasive (surgical) procedures and hospitalization. Then you can buy your own OPTIONAL policy similar to Aflac to cover any specified ailments not in your plan.

I just get sick of politicians saying we need to fix health care. What has the over powerful federal government EVER fixed? They say ďforty million people donít have health insurance.Ē Well, maybe some of them donít want it and those that donít, go to an emergency room and get the same care I would get. The national media and pinhead politicians say we need to fix health care since we have 40 million uninsured? They want to do this by making everyone have (or get free) health coverage (insurance).

I know (hope) youíve heard this before, but if you think health care is expensive now, wait till itís free, (the government gets involved).


Michael Fredrickson is the General Manager of the Fort Bend/Southwest Star. He can be reached at michael@fortbendstar.com.

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   Last Update:  April 30, 2008