Random Thoughts on Health Care Needs & Insurance

I really hated the original title for this post, so have renamed it and have updated a bit of the content…1/31/09

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon getting an injection to relieve nerve pain from spinal stenosis. I think this is my fifth or sixth injection to date.  I seem to need one about every five months so far, but as my wonderful Dr. reminds me, this is still much better than the alternative of surgery, for as long as it is viable. I am fortunate enough to have health insurance; though recently changed employment and am still nervous about whether this will be considered an uncovered pre-existing condition for the next few months. We’ll see…

Spinal stenosis, as I have discovered is not that uncommon, particularly in those with aging spines. Of all the things that could be going south as I age, this is certainly not as serious as many other possibilities. Yet, when I let it go a bit too long between treatments, as I did this time, I wonder how  those who have this condition and have no insurance can possibly function?  The level of pain, toward the end of my five month periods often leaves me breathless, almost unable to do anything well, and is not mitigated to any great extent by any kind of pain killers. 

If it is a similar pain for all who have this fairly common condition, how in the world do they wake up and function effectively every day  if untreated?  What about the myriad other health conditions that both young and old deal with every day?  What sort of  financial, physical and emotional costs do we incur if people are not able to afford the treatments they need to live satisfying and productive lives?

Just a few thoughts as we move into a new Presidency and health care continues to be a huge and mounting concern for all of us. There are no easy answers, but our current health care system is not serving us as well as it could and costs continue to mount.  I hope that this new Administration will be able, with our help, to craft a plan that is fair to all, and does not deny any necessary health care to anyone, regardless of insurance status. I also hope that all of us realize we need to be active participants in our own care.

Two  Twitter friends, Karoli Kuns and Francine Hardaway,  have started a new website to address the health care crisis. They are building a community that can discuss ways to resolve the issues we are facing and  share some creative ways to do so. Please take a look and participate.    http://ushealthcrisis.com/


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