January 22, 2018

Be a referee, be a role model for the next generation

Executive Director Bob Gardner, NFHS

Bob Gardner
National Federation of State High School Associations

They don’t make the headlines, their names are not in the box scores and they don’t make the all-star teams, but perhaps the most important individuals in high school sports are the contest officials.

These individuals are so important that, in fact, there would be no organized competitive sports at the high school level without the men and women who officiate these contests every day across the country. Subtract the dedicated men and women who officiate high school sports and competitive sports would no longer be organized; they would be chaotic. In some areas, high school officials are retiring faster than new licenses are being issued. And junior varsity, freshmen and middle school games are being postponed – or even cancelled – because there are not enough men and women to officiate them.

Anyone looking for a unique way to contribute to the local community should consider becoming a licensed high school official. For individuals who played sports in high school, officiating is a great way to stay close to the sport after their playing days have ended. Officiating helps people stay in shape, expands their social and professional network and offers part-time work that is flexible, yet pays. In fact, officiating is a form of community service, but with compensation.

Another benefit of officiating is that individuals become role models so that teenagers in the community can learn the life lessons that high school sports teach. Students learn to respect their opponents and the rules of the game and the importance of practicing good sportsmanship thanks, in part, to those men and women who officiate. And the objectivity and integrity that high school officials display is an example that every young person needs to observe firsthand.

In short, communities around the country will be stronger because of the life lessons that high school officials help teach the next generation. Officiating is a great way to stay connected to sports and to give back to the local high school and community. We need dedicated men and women to become involved so that high school sports an continue to prosper for years to come.

Individuals interested in learning more about becoming a high school official, and even begin the application process, can do so at www.HighSchoolOfficials.com.

Bob Gardner
Executive Director
National Federation of State High School Associations

This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of PhotoNews Media. We welcome comments and views from our readers.


President Trump must lead the way to change

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

President Trump and Congress must end the pharmaceutical robbing of America. Every day Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Roche, Novartis, Merck, Sanofi and others are driving America's indebtedness toward another trillion dollars in drug money debt.

Americans obviously need drugs. I'm talking about the legal kind. These are the medicines, pills, injections, drips and liquids dispensed to you at your local drug store such as CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and your small town independent pharmacist. Of course there are the mega number of drugs that you may receive if admitted to the hospital. Those are never reasonable.

President George W. Bush trying everything under the sun to be reelected in 2003 set up a deal with Congress to enact Medicare part D that covers the cost of prescriptions - Medicare Modernization Act. The federal government was barred from negotiating cheaper prices for such medicines. Why would the government actually pass a law saying that you can't negotiate drug prices? Simple answer - The drug company lobbyists have funneled about 2 billion dollars into the nation's capital since the beginning of 2003. In just 2015 and 2016 alone drug companies spent the equivalent of over $500,000 per member of congress. Congressmen and Congresswomen care most about being reelected.

A paper released by Harvard Medical School researchers cited the size of Medicare part D program and its lack of government negotiating clout as among the reasons why Americans pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. A co-author of that paper, Ameet Sarpatwari, estimates that Part D accounts for nearly 30 percent of the nation's spending on prescription drugs.

Unbelievable as well, Part D pays far more for drugs than do Medicaid or the Veterans Health Administration. Both of these mandate government measures to hold down prices. Reports cite Medicare Part D pays between 70 - 80 percent more than Medicaid and VHA. Why has this continued? Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, who recently retired, received over $1,303.157 between 2003 and 2016 to his election committee and leadership PAC. Sen. Orin Hatch of Utah has received over $1,182.560. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, $995,350. Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, $834,508 and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey $731,078. This is only a few of them who have rolled in the drug cash.

Sixty-five year old Americans and up can elect to have D which is a no brainer if you need prescriptions which most senior Americans need. The average cost of Medicare D prescription drug coverage in 2016 was $41.46 per month. To senior adults on fixed incomes any additional expense is an expense. However, the cost of Medicare D is cheap in comparison to what a trip to the drug store can cost. A hospital stay requiring an expensive treatment can push a medical bill up by thousands. In this day and time it only takes a couple of nights in the hospital to rack up a $25,000 hospital bill or much more.

Here is the problem, Medicare D allows the Pharmaceutical companies to submit whatever bill they want to Medicare and Medicare is obligated to pay for it. Anything. Any cost. There is no Board of Supervisors negotiating the cost of the medicine that Medicare pays for. Do you think your $41.46 per month (your cost is probably more now) is actually covering the cost of all of your prescriptions? No it is not, the American taxpayers are being stuck with the bill. Billions and Billions of more debt is being heaped on the American people to cover the real cost of Medicare part D. From 2003 to 2012 part D added $318 billion dollars to the national debt. A report in the 2013 Medicare Trustees reports projects Medicare Part D will add $852 billion to our debt over the next ten years pushing it over one trillion dollars.

Conservatives Senator Orin Hatch of Utah, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania all voted for this. John Boehner of Ohio, Eric Cantor of Virginia and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin voted for Medicare Part D or the Medicare Modernization Act.

While most Americans on Part D greatly appreciate that our government is eating most of the bill. Americans will be asked to pay more eventually. Our leadership (?) has to fix the problem. Sadly our leadership is being bought so don't expect them to fix it as long as the cash is pouring into their pockets.

President George W. Bush did achieve his goal through the Medical Modernization Act. According to exit polls he increased his share of the over 65 vote to 52 percent in 2004.

President Trump has a lot to do, but he must lead the way to change how we are doing business with the drug companies and Medicare D.

Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of American Issues, Every American Has An Opinion and ten other books. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group or organization.

This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of PhotoNews Media. We welcome comments and views from our readers.