Health Care Reform and Running Injuries

Well, I’m heading back into the dark abyss of our nation’s medical system today. After months of doctor’s visits and physical rehab — with bills now north of $2,000 and growing — I still have foot pain that makes it almost impossible to run and many days uncomfortable just to walk.  But in reality, I’m fortunate. I have access to virtually unlimited medical treatment — even when it doesn’t appear to be working. And most of the expenses are paid for by employer-provided medical coverage.

That really frames the dilemma — and communication challenge — facing the President, members of Congress and all of us as citizens and taxpayers when it comes to reforming the health care system. How much coverage can you realistically provide — to whom — and at what cost to individuals, taxpayers and the nation as we struggle to pay for other things like education and so on? Then add in the fact that any significant change will result in winners and losers (ah, me?).

And just so I don’t come off as too much of an old doofus here, I believe that every citizen in the USA should have access to doctors, hospitals and medical treatment in general — and nobody should go bankrupt as a result or be turned down for coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions. But I honestly don’t know how we will pay the tab for that — particularly if we are looking to give everyone the kind of coverage that I (and many, many others) currently enjoy.

But since I can’t resolve that national issue, let’s see if I can get my foot fixed. Amazingly, I’ve been struggling with this injury since April — yet no doctor or physical therapist has diagnosed with any degree of certainty  what the problem actually is. I believe it is an inflammation of a nerve in the ball of the foot — and up to this point that seems to be good enough for the medical experts. But hey, my two degrees are in journalism. Go figure.

And I recognize that many times there aren’t easy answers to these type of injuries. Gina Kolata wrote last week in The New York Times about her attempts to recover from a hamstring injury (One Injured Hamstring, A String of Treatments). Her point: many times the medical experts don’t agree on the nature or cause of the injury — or what type of treatment works, if any.

Wow. The “I don’t know for sure let’s hope for the best” school of health care. Woot.

Oh well. At least someone else is paying.

For now.

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