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Ask a Vet: Catch-22 of health insurance for pets
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I loved Wolverine before it was cool.

He made his debut in Marvel comics in an issue of The Incredible Hulk that was released on the day I was born.

I discovered him when I was 10 years old. His antihero persona full of angst and unrequited love and violence captured my attention. Sure, Superman fought bad guys, but he always won and sent even the worst mass murderer to jail.

Wolverine killed people. Now, that isn’t as family friendly as the current incarnation of his character, but it is cool when you’re that age. Wolverine would catch the bad guy in the act and deliver swift justice. Sometimes the fatal variety.

In a world where wealthy people go to jail for crimes for which poor people get the death penalty, imagining true justice that way is comforting on some level. He caught them in the act, so we knew they were guilty. No worry of existential doubt and weighing taking someone’s life if you’re a jury.

The same thing works for pet insurance. I love the idea. You give the company money to help offset the unforeseen happening to your pet. If your pet remains healthy, we all win. If something bad comes along, you’re a little more monetarily prepared. Great!

But in the real world, death penalty cases aren’t ideal in knowing indisputable guilt. The same is true for insurance.

In human medicine — the only effective model we have for widespread insurance use — there is a cloud of suspicion of some medical decisions coming from the insurance company and not the attending doctor. While it hopefully is true the company employs knowledgeable people to help decide where money is spent, your personal doctor may have to choose test A over test B despite feeling test B is the best one for your case.

I worry pet insurance may trend that way. That will drive up prices, thus reducing care availability for patients without coverage.

The bright side? Veterinarians would be paid much more. I’m just not sure that helps the patients.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at

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