Why do advocates of socialized medicine prefer pets over people? It’s hard not to conclude that’s the way they think. After all, in Canada you can get a CT scan or MRI sooner for your “companion animal” than for your child. And health insurance is a thriving business in Great Britain, which only recently decided to allow people to spend extra to get better drugs than those offered by the National Health System.
Forget worming pills and a flea collar — a trip to the vet in Britain these days could be about heart surgery, joint replacement, chemotherapy or a host of other cutting-edge procedures.
Britain is one of the few countries in Europe to offer many of these complex treatments: devoted British pet-owners have fuelled a fast-growing insurance market that helps fund care which would otherwise take a big bite out of a bank account.
Research firm Datamonitor has forecast the country’s pet insurance market will grow to almost 600 million pounds ($1.18 billion) in 2011 from nearly 380 million pounds in 2006.
“It wasn’t that big a market a few years ago but now it is growing,” said Kelly Ostler-Coyle, a spokeswoman for the Association of British Insurers. “It is a combination of how much people value their pets and (the fact) that there are more providers in the market.”