I’ve mentioned a few times in my Twitter feed that I started playing hockey this fall for the first time. I’ve played a handful of games already, sustaining some form of injury in more than half of them. It hasn’t deterred me because I’ve discovered a love for the game. Unfortunately, though, my latest injury may be something more than a nagging reflection of my out-of-shape 36-year-old body. I fell in my most recent game, landing awkwardly on my wrist and hand. It’s now stiff, swollen and a strange shade of orange. After a few days, I finally acknowledged that machismo isn’t the best way to deal with it. So, today I went to the doctor.
I had to answer biographical questions with no bearing on getting an x-ray. I had to provide a photo id to be scanned, allegedly to prevent insurance fraud, as required by federal law. My doctor had to give me a prescription for extra-strength Advil, which I declined, if I wanted to take one pill instead of several. I’m sure there were other laws being followed that did not add to my medical care. What will it be like when the government gets involved?
When I get the bill for my doctor’s consultation and the x-ray services, I will be responsible for 100% of it in my high deductible health insurance plan because I haven’t met my deductible. I find that acceptable because I intentionally signed up for my plan. The deductible matches the cumulative annual premium for my previous policy. What will happen to my preferred plan since it is unlikely to include what Congress decides I need because it doesn’t provide a full range of services included for “free”?
The key, though, is my ability to get the care I needed. I scheduled my appointment yesterday afternoon, saw my doctor this morning, and got x-rays taken on a walk-up outpatient basis immediately after that. I’ll know tomorrow whether I’ve fractured anything. I have no doubt that I’ll be able to quickly receive any additional treatment I may need. Our current medical system costs money, but that timeline is not free. Congress is too far removed from individuals to determine that the trade-off between those two is incorrectly balanced. I doubt it cares. The potential outcome concerns me.