Saturday, October 17, 2009

Healthcare for all?


Denver, our cat, died of chronic kidney disease a few months ago after 18 years of life with our family. He required extra care, medications, and a special diet for the last 2 years of his life, and it cost $1-2 per day to keep him going. He was happy and interactive until his last day, and the expense was worthwhile.

My daughter has been generally healthy, but she does have a couple of “pre-existing conditions” that might prevent her from getting health insurance. We hope she will find a job with good group coverage, or that reforms pass that will allow her to be covered.

While the healthcare debate mires in political mud, Representative Thadeus McCotter of Michigan has proposed the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) act. The bill would give pet owners a tax deduction of up to $3500 annually for the care of their animal companions. (For a detailed news story, click here)

Based on covereage of the proposal, its primary aim is economic stimulus. As McCotter told DoggyTV:

Anything that puts cash back in Americans' hands during the economic crisis is a good thing.

All well and good, but exploring the congressman’s web site reveals that this republican does not believe the current stimulus package is beneficial. So why would a pet owner tax deduction be more stimulating? I mean, I would love to deduct my pet expenses for the year, but, frankly, it was a luxury to keep a sick, geriatric pet alive.

I then explored his comments on the Obama healthcare proposal, and they confuse me. His statements suggest that our “system” is not in crisis, nor is reform required. I thought the Big 3 Auto Makers were behind reform! Don’t they still count in Michigan politics?

I hope congress lets this bill drift away. Don’t get me wrong; I love my pets, but my daughter’s health and insurability is far more important to me. I think we should guarantee coverage for every US citizen before we think about reducing taxes for pet owners.

HAPPY won’t make me that way.

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