Two of my kids have “well-child visits” scheduled with their doctor this afternoon. Middle Sister’s visit will include the doctor’s signing of athletic participation forms for the spring track season. Since she has already received medical forms for high-school sports, I called the school nurse to ask if the doctor could fill those out today as well.
My sister said that the sports physical for next year has to be after July 1, but our school nurse said that today’s physical will take her right through the end of next school year (that’s right, including spring sports in 2011!)
That’s great news as far as I’m concerned, not only because I save the fee our doctor charges for filling out these forms outside of an appointment, but because, well, I’m just not certain that at this time next year, health care will be as accessible as it is today.
Middle Sister glanced at the newspaper headlines today and asked me what the health-care reform bill meant. I explained a little bit about what rationed care means. I told her that if someone got sick, the decision about whether that person should receive certain treatments, medications, or surgeries would become less and less the decision of that person’s doctor and more and more the decision of the health-care system (ultimately, the U.S. government.) I gave the example of a woman we know who recently passed away after her third bout of cancer in ten years–all after the age of 75. Would she have received chemo that second and third time around?
She thought about that for a minute and decided that it’s in her best interests to stay healthy.
I have friends in Canada who can’t call their primary-care doctor or child’s pediatrician and get a “sick visit” on the same day. And I am grateful to live here in the U.S. where I can schedule a same-day “sick visit” if one is needed. Access to health care is not something I take for granted. And now that the government is going to be in charge of it, I’m not sure it’s even something I can count on.