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John Froelich, Published November 26 2010

Sanford donations raise questions

Recently, it was reported that Sanford Health donated $10 million to upgrade the North Dakota State University basketball arena. It has been reported that they have made similar gifts in other areas of the country. I appreciate the Scheels and Stop and Go stores of the world that support these programs in like manner. However, when a health care organization makes these kinds of gifts with the money they earned off someone’s illness, I question their profits and mission. Are they in business to provide health care or for growth?

Before anyone questions my loyalty to NDSU: I attended NDSU in 1958, when it was the North Dakota Agricultural College. At that time, the other schools referred to it as “Moo U” and called playing football there as going down to the “cow pens.”

I distributed information in Valley City, N.D., to support the vote to change NDAC to a university, and now we have NDSU. I was elated as anyone when Darrell Mudra came along and made NDSU a powerhouse in Division II football. Now, NDSU has gone from a $4 million athletic budget to $14 million to play Division I. It takes money to compete, but I don’t feel it should be health care dollars.

I walked with my wife in 2005 for nine months as she lost her battle with cancer. I have some knowledge of how the health care system works. At a time when health care costs have been constantly going up faster than inflation, I think it is time to look at reasons. There is no question in my mind that health care needs change, and Sanford Health is an example of why that change needs to happen.