Readers’ Views

The fear of getting sick

To the Editor:

Health care issues are No. 1 with voters in 2020. Why? Because to get sick in this country is scary. We are afraid.

A friend in Fairmont last summer was carried to a hospital emergency room. She could not move. The sky was turning. Later diagnosis: vertigo. After four hours in the ER, including CAT scans, the bill was $14,000.

Now, my friend is no slouch. She works. She works hard. Two jobs. She is in her 60s. She has health insurance offered through one of her employers. On top of paying the monthly premium and co-pays for prescription drugs, she had entered into an agreement with her medical provider to pay $50 per month on a past outstanding medical bill of $500.

The ER visit costs to her were decreased. After insurance kicked in, she owed $4,000. Her provider however now wanted $250 per month. My single friend’s annual gross income last year: $30,000. She could not afford the increased debt. Her bill was sent to collections this past month.

Her out-of-pocket max is $5,000 in a calendar year. A new year has started. If she visits the ER again for an illness tomorrow, she conceivably could incur another $14,000 for a four-hour visit. Right? Suddenly, she owes not $4,000 but $8,000.

Huh? Scary? Full of fear? What to do? Get a third job? What if she loses her current jobs?

Money and fear. That is all the current health care industry generates. Is there a better way? Less full of angst and foreboding?

Does this scenario described above make you angry? What do you think? How do you feel about my friend’s problem?

Peter Engstrom


Thank you so much

To the Editor:

Each year, Fairmont Dollars for Scholars is able to award more than 175 scholarships to Fairmont graduates because of our amazing community. Part of that is due to those who attend our annual chicken dinner in January and help us raise these funds.

So, first and foremost, thank you, thank you, thank you to our community for supporting us by coming to the dinner.

We also want to thank the many people who played a part in having the evening go smoothly and deliciously. They are: First Farmers and Merchants Bank, Fairmont Photo Press, the Fairmont Sentinel, area churches, KFMC and KSUM, and Wyman Fischer at Edward Jones for helping us promote the event; Lisa and Lori (and their crew from Pizza Ranch), who work to make this even better each year; the Knights of Columbus, who are always easygoing and great to work with; the Fairmont High School seniors who help do the serving, greeting and cleaning; and the board members of Fairmont Dollars for Scholars who find such joy in rewarding students with scholarships.

If you were unable to attend the dinner but would still like to make a contribution, our address is P.O. Box 563, Fairmont, MN 56031.

Liz Wheeler

executive secretary,

Fairmont Dollars for Scholars


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