Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Portland Pet Lovers Balk at ObamaCare for Dogs

This story in Willamette Week about a new Oregon based company called Hannah The Pet Society has generated quite a few comments to the Victoria Taft Show and has revealed some inadvertent second thoughts about ObamaCare--for dogs. 

The man who built up the managed care vet clinics known as Banfield Pet Hospitals to 600 outlets in the US and UK  , has now begun what can only be called a renta-pet program. 

The Hannah business plan is a combo of ideas already out there: car leasing,  E-Harmony and ObamaCare for your pet. 

An agreed upon monthly rental fee includes food (shipped to your home) and veterinary care. And it's that last part that is what Willamette Week sought to highlight (that, and the fact that the vet who came up with the idea is really, really rich [hint: that's bad]).

The new Hannah concept moves beyond managed care and goes full single payer--exactly where President Obama has expressed he would like to take US health care. It even comes with its own IPAB Board:

According to the Hannah contract, “Hannah’s Medical Standards Board, in consultation with the Pet Parent, is the final determiner of any support, care or ‘end of life treatments.

That's right, they're Sarah Palin's death panels for dogs.

How are lefty Portlanders dealing with this? Let's check in with some of the folks Willamette Week talked to:

Rose, a Portlander who asked that her last name not be used, says she and her boyfriend got a purebred Yorkshire terrier puppy from Hannah in June and were attracted by its affordability—$60 a month for the dog, food and vet care. A Yorkie can cost $600, she says.
Months later, Rose says she’s having second thoughts, in part because she realizes she would not be allowed to decide what treatments her dog received if it became ill. It would be up to a Hannah vet, not her, what care her dog gets.
“They decide if they want to fix it or not,” she says. “It could be: ‘Oh, she has a tumor, we’re just going to put her down.’”
Campbell says if a vet can reasonably treat a pet, Hannah will do it. 
“We’ll recommend what we believe is best,” he says.
If a pet parent wants to opt for other treatment, the parent can get veterinary care elsewhere, Campbell says. Or she can buy out her contract.

 And this one:

[Laura] McNamara signed a certificate of ownership that stipulates, “I hereby transfer/sell full ownership of this pet unconditionally to The Hannah Society.” She also handed over $95 per dog to sign up.
When she brought in Alvin for his physical six days later, however, the doctor told her the dog’s health posed too big a risk. He quoted her $300 a month, or more, for the one animal.
McNamara left.

With ObamaCare humans won't be able to "leave." Constraints on paying cash for outside care are curtailed and you'll be fined if you don't participate. 

ObamaCare will "cover" preexisting conditions but you still must undergo IPAB's standard of care--you don't get a choice.

“The whole thing was creepy and weird,” McNamara says.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

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