I can’t afford my deductible… woof, woof

If you have read this blog before, you may know where I’m going with this. Many surveys reporting the affordability of health care rely on self-reported information. And many respondents report they do have trouble with deductibles, co-pays and all out-of-pocket costs. I maintain that in many cases these reports are more a reflection of setting priorities and the notion that someone else (the insurance company) should pay for health care.

Americans spend a lot of money on stuff, all kinds of stuff. Sometimes that spending consumes all or even more than net income so when a health care bill, even a modest one, comes along, it’s UNAFFORDABLE.

Keeping a pet is an expense sufficient to pay many Rx co-pays or a couple of office visits each year yet to suggest that comparison makes one appear cynical or heartless. When was the last time you were asked if your pet was “affordable?”

Because of this mindset which is never going to change, taxing people for their health care and then letting them believe its free from the government is inevitable. 🙁

Americans are spending more on their pets. In 2015 alone, U.S. citizens spent $60.28 billion caring for their pets. These sales included $23.05 billion in food-related products and $5.41 billion in pet services, such as grooming and boarding. Sales are expected to continue to grow by $2.5 billion in 2016, with the largest increase coming from food.

An increasing majority of American households own a pet. According to the 2015-2016 American Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owners Survey, more than 65 percent of U.S households own at least one pet, equating to 79.7 million homes. In 1988, only 56 percent of U.S. households owned a pet. More households own dogs than any other animal; cats are found in nearly 12 million fewer households in comparison.

Health care ranked top among pet-related expenses. In 2015, the most expensive spending category for both cats and dogs was surgical vet visits. For dogs, kennel boarding was the second most expensive category; for cats, it was food expenses. Dogs are the most expensive pet to care for, costing more in every aspect measured compared to cats. However, the largest discrepancy between dogs and cats was boarding, where the average bill for dog owners was more than 2.5 times that of cat owners.



One comment

  1. Having a pet is certainly expensive. However, unless you have had one, you do not understand the benefits the pet provides you. Many (most) provide love and support that you cannot get anywhere else! They are lovable companions and may prevent many medical expenses, especially the mental health kind. Yes, there are costs. However some of the costs you have quoted are not necessary. If you get a pet from a shelter they pay the neutering or spaying. They also do the initial medical exam. Other quoted costs may be average, but most items can be found for less. As for training, most people can train their animal with the help of the internet. Most trainers are training the owner anyway, not the pet. They train the owner how to treat their pets to get the best response. I have had pets throughout most of my life. I had some rough patches and believe me, the pet was my lifeline. After my last pet died, I reevaluated my lifestyle and I now am enjoying life too much traveling. I do miss my companions but do not believe traveling with a pet is the best life for either pets or owners.


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