McDaniel: ‘Medicare for All’ should include our pets, too – Wyoming Tribune

Medicare for All. All means all. Including our pets.

I may have trouble convincing Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema it is time for Medicare to cover animal health care. Pet owners are willing to pay a little more in taxes to get it done. Why? Because they care about the well-being of the four-legged members of their families, and vet bills are literally killing some of them.

If you’ve taken your dog or cat to the vet recently, you are aware of increasingly high costs of animal care. For many pet lovers, especially elderly people on fixed incomes and middle- to low-income pet owners, these costs have become prohibitive. Whether it’s routine care such as a teeth cleaning or cancer treatments or emergency care, vet costs are pricing pet ownership out of reach of many, limiting those who can adopt from the shelter.

Pet insurance is available in the private market, but, as with human health insurance, it’s pricey, and coverages are limited.

As a result, pet care is delayed, animals become sicker, as do humans who can’t afford health care. Like humans, many pets don’t get the care they need. Thousands die prematurely. Thousands more are relinquished to shelters or abandoned because owners cannot afford to take care of them.

Writing for “dvm360,” a website whose audience is veterinarians, one vet penned a column titled “Wake up and smell the veterinarian crisis.” He told colleagues, “U.S. households spend more each year on pets than on alcohol, furniture, landline phone service or men’s and boys’ clothing, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data collected by the Census Bureau. I’ve long been concerned that our ability to provide care was being outpaced by the cost of care. In fact, few of our own employees can afford our services without subsidy.” (

The director of the Cheyenne Animal Shelter gets it. Britney Tenant calls unaffordable animal health care “a nationwide crisis.” Ms. Tenant told me, “People are separated from their pets all of the time due to the affordability of care.”

She correlates the lack of resources humans need to care for their own health to the inability to care for their pets. People without the means to buy health care or insurance suffer the consequences, and so do their pets.

I don’t raise the issue to dis veterinarians. A degree in veterinarian medicine costs between $200,000 and $400,000. Tuition costs continue to rise, and most …….


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