This Land Is
Reports from a Divided Nation
by Barbara Ehrenreich
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This year, Americans will spend about $9.8
billion on health care for their pets. The leading pet hospitals offer CT scans,
MRIs, dialysis units, and even a rehab clinic featuring an underwater treadmill.
A consultant to pet health facilities justified these huge investments by
pointing out that pets are, after all, "part of the family."
Well, there's another category that might
reasonably be considered "part of the family." True, it can take years to
housebreak them; their standards of hygiene are lamentably low, at least
compared to cats; and many cannot learn to "sit" without the aid of Ritalin. I'm
talking about children, of course, and while I understand why many people would
not want one of these hairless and often incontinent bipeds in their homes, they
can provide considerable gratification. They do tend to fall sick a lot,
however, so I checked with one animal health insurer to see what coverage would
cost for a child companion comparable to a three-year-old dog: I was amazed that
a "premium" policy would run to a mere $33 a month.
The Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to
provide state health insurance for 3.2 million kids who are not currently
covered. The president then vetoed the bill, but I have the answer: Open up pet
health insurance to all American children now!
Copyright © 2008 Barbara Ehrenreich
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