Monday, September 07, 2009

Discovering meaning in the health insurance debate

A few weeks ago I injured my knee while working out. I really enjoy working out so the injury has really frustrated me. While it's healing, I've had to slow down my workout and find alternative ways of exercising.

As I swam laps in my friends pool, I allowed myself to be frustrated with my situation. Yet, as I swam, each lap created a new thought in my head...

I'm swimming laps in my friend's pool. How many people have friends with pools they can go to when they need alternative exercise? How many people do I know who had swimming lessons as a kid and can even swim?? And then if they do have a friend with a pool, how many have gas and transportation to get to that pool?

Then I started thinking...

Truth is, I can afford to pay for a monthly gym membership to keep me healthy...which is how I got hurt in the first place. How many of my friends can afford a gym membership? Not many. Because I can afford that monthly cost, I am able to keep my stress level (and my weight) down. Exercising helps me feel better about myself...about life...about situations. Exercising makes me want to eat better to maintain that good feeling.

Then I started questioning the intelligence of my actions...

Is my knee really healing right? Maybe I should have gone to the doctor. No, that would've been a $30 co-pay and they would've probably sent me to another doctor for x-rays, which would've been another $30. That's too much money. But I guess the reality is, I have health insurance and I have the choice to go to a doctor. Though it's expensive, it's a WHOLE lot cheaper than the visit would be without insurance. Wow...how many people don't even have that option and opportunity?

Which led me to also appreciate the job I have...

Wow...what if I had a job where I had to stand all day...and didn't provide sick and vacation days either...like many of my friends in the service industry?

My knee isn't 100% yet and I'm still irritated that I can't workout at the level I'd like. But I also realize that many people don't have all of the opportunities and benefits I do. I think of this as I listen to people lament over the fact that a change in insurance my not allow they or their children the care they have had (which I don't believe will happen).

I wonder if they realize that so many people have never had the care that they and their children have. I wonder if they realize (or care) that while they're so adamant about maintaining privatized care for themselves, they are advocating that *some* people and *some* children don't deserve what they do. They are advocating to shut them out of that opportunity to be healthier...which ultimately affects all of us.

Because of my knee, the health insurance debate has a little more meaning these days.
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