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My Dog Can Get A MRI In 2 Hours, Why Can't I?

The crashing of my dog in a semi-paralyzed state dragging her body around the house awakened me early one Saturday morning. The front half of her body was fine, but the rear end was completely lifeless. Dogs quickly become an integral part of most families and this one was no exception.

After a few hours when the condition failed to improve I took her to a local animal hospital. We were in the waiting room for about 20 minutes and then ushered into an examination room. By now not only were her lower extremities non-functioning, but she had lost her ability to remain upright even on her front legs. The routine diagnostics and reflex checks turned up nothing notable. The vet was stumped. She recommended a MRI on the dog.

I assumed this meant a follow-up visit days or weeks later because that's how it works in a human hospital. A recent MRI on a family member took days to schedule. Surprisingly she told me a MRI could be performed almost immediately. How could that be? Why would pets get superior service to people? Understand the difference between a pet hospital and a people hospital and you'll uncover why our healthcare system is so flawed.

At the animal hospital I was expected to pay with cash or a credit card. I asked and was told exactly what the price would be. I learned there was another animal hospital 15 miles away that also performed animal MRIs and they invited me to call them. The service was spectacularly fast, efficient, and transparent.

Why are people hospitals so inferior to the speed and efficiency of pet hospitals? At both locations the government certifies practitioners (the doctors) and regulates the drugs. But for animal hospitals that's where the government rules generally end, but for human facilities it's where the rules begin. Every aspect of healthcare is highly monitored and controlled by the government from the treatment to the compensation. With the government paying for about half of all medical bills the compensation is heavily managed. In addition, tax code penalizes companies not providing insurance further complicates the process. It makes no sense to have employers deciding healthcare options any more than politicians.

People should get superior treatment to animals not inferior. Yet today that is often not the case. Bureaucratic regulations, meddling and tax code is the cause of the degradation. Some believe that the solution is even more oversight by politicians, but the same day MRI for my dog illustrates that care can be greatly improved in delivery time, cost and options if the government allows the free market to operate.

See also: Why I'd Rather Pay the Fine Than Sign Up for Obamacare


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