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What’s good for Goober is good for you

The Heartland Institute, a far right “think” tank that has faced some controversy lately over its comparison of scientists and environmentalists to murderous terrorists, now has some health policy suggestions for us.

The idea is to treat our human health insurance system like the system for pet insurance (included is the heartwarming story of a dog named Goober). It’s a great analysis because health care for people is almost exactly like health care for our beloved turtles and hamsters. Seriously, care is getting more sophisticated for animals, but the two are not remotely comparable from a policy perspective.

Here’s a nice thought:

Markets, as they should, put a dollar value on everything. The pet health insurance market does this well by literally treating pets as property. And this isn’t bad for animals or their -owners. When it comes to certain aspects of human health—even serious but not life-threatening events like contracting shingles or breaking a leg—such personalized cost-benefit thinking that treats individuals’ bodies like pieces of personal property might serve Americans and the medical system far better

The deeper problem here is that conservatives need a new idea for how to reform health care so that they can offer an alternative to “Obamacare”. The trouble is that Obamacare is the Republican idea for health reform. Most of its proposals arose from the offices of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush Sr. Obamacare was first implemented by Mitt Romney with support from conservative policy propagandists like Heritage Foundation. But Obama implemented this Republican plan. That means Heritage and its Republican friends must oppose it.

Thus the rub. If you are forced to oppose your own ideas once they are implemented, how do you dream up a new plan that is more conservative than your original proposal? Apparently, you turn to pet insurance.

If the Affordable Care Act is overturned there aren’t many options left. If you are a market fundamentalist then you are left with treating grandma like Goober.

3 Comments


  1. Adam Searing

    May 21, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    And there’s also the common option of euthanasia for owners of elderly and infirm pets too – one more great reason to emulate pet insurance as a model for taking care of people in our country.

  2. cliftonzwillette

    May 22, 2012 at 5:07 am

    I have a thirteen year old girl, and honest to god every day I wake up I am thankful that I have an incredible insurance policy that pays for my medical insurance. I found insurance from “Penny Health” website and it doesn’t pay 100% on everything, but when I receive the bill and find out just how much I would have had to pay had I not been insured I realize that there is no way in the world that I could have afforded kind of care without it.

  3. Vannessa

    May 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    The pet health insurance industry is completely corrupt. I’m saying this as a pet owner and former policy holder. I had policies from three separate insurance providers, and believe me when I say that each one was worse than the next. The excuses they came up with to wriggle out of paying for my bills were shocking; even amusing sometimes.
    It took me a few years as a consumer to just cancel my policies, grit my teeth, and pay the bills myself. Why pay for premiums and bills; when you could forget the premiums and still pay the same amount in bills?
    I have a dedicated savings account to help ease the pain, and I also recently signed up for Pet Assure, which basically knocks 25% off the bill at the vet. As far as medication is concerned, I pay that myself – but thank god none of my cats have diabetes or another disease where the medication is more expensive than the treatments …

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