I am in a pool therapy program. Each year, Medicare gives me a limited amount of physical therapy sessions. The therapist works closely with me to help strengthen the muscles in my body that still work, and counsels me on ways to stretch my body to give me relief from the insurmountable pain I suffer from, including neuropathy and spasticity. After six weeks, when my included sessions are up, my therapist gives me an exercise program to continue on my own. It’s like having your own personal trainer.
The reason exercise is so important to me is because it helps me navigate the world I choose to live in. In this world, accessibility is often not a priority. In the DIY community, which helps musicians and artists share what they create by bypassing the corporate music industry, stages are never accessible, even at ordinary venues. Other venues, created in homes, basements, or warehouses, are also often inaccessible. In order to play I have to lift my body up or down stages or stairs. I am able to do this because I exercise.
I’m so grateful that Medicare supports people living with disabilities (PLD) through providing therapy, but the only way we can continue to exercise after our number of sessions with a physical therapist is up is to join a gym. Medicare does not pay for this gym, and if you can’t afford to go then the time and additional money spent for therapy is a waste. As the government continues to limit the things it will fund, this, and many other wastes, go unnoticed.
It is time to look at healthcare differently. Gyms, alternative medicine, and diets are all ways we can prevent ourselves from getting sick, and in the long run, prevention, not cuts, is what saves taxpayers’ money. It’s time for America to invest in the health of its citizens. Without health, we are a society of illness.