Keeping their promise to offer an alternative to the Affordable Care Act—better known as Obamacare—congressional Republicans on Thursday unveiled the Veterinary Care Act, a sweeping new health care bill that would require animal hospitals and veterinary clinics to provide medical care for people.
Under the legislation, families with a combined income of less than $250,000 per year would be encouraged to choose an animal clinic and a primary care veterinarian to meet all their health care needs. Individuals, in consultation with a veterinary technician, would have the right to opt for either a feline plan or a canine plan.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, rallying support for the bill at the Furry Friends for Christ Pet Clinic in Houston, jested that henceforth co-pays should be known as “co-paws,” but then he turned serious:
“This health care plan would radically lower costs by eliminating nearly all medical services traditionally available to working people and the middle class,” said Ryan. “Those who sign up for the plan—called Freedom Care—would benefit from a full range of veterinary services, such as ear cleaning, nail trimming, deworming, microchipping, and of course spaying and neutering. So-called hospital stays would take place in high-quality kennels and pet boarding facilities.”
Ryan then leaned down to scratch a frightened beagle held firmly in place by a staff technician. “Don’t be afraid, little poochie,” said the House Speaker, “I won’t hurt you—I’m not going to take away your health care; I’m just going to share it with a lot of people who can’t afford human doctors and human hospitals.”