I try to stay away from politics on this website and so I will not even touch what is going on with the current debate. I just pray that everyone will have affordable healthcare and be taken care of. I do want to talk about something that I believe would be considered bipartisan;
I still remember the ad back in November and maybe we need to re-watch it in an ever so divisive environment today: A vote for good. If you don't remember it, or didn't get to see it before, take the time to watch it. I can try to understand, empathize and reach a common ground with many people. I'm forced to do it on a daily basis and often, for some reason, people make assumptions that I share their same political and religious or "areligious" views when I take care of their dogs. Don't ask me how these topics that are not supposed to be discussed in polite society end up being thrust into the vet exam room. The one thing I do get from these awkward experiences is how people who I share maybe nothing in common with, I do share something basic in common with- the love of the dog. I can understand people of many different backgrounds and try to reach a common ground- it is those who don't respect and love dogs that I just can't fathom.
Back to some common ground: A George Mason University Study found that dog ownership saves an estimated $11.7 billion a year in healthcare costs. There have been many studies that have shown how the human- animal bond can help reduce blood pressure, help with weight loss and many individual variables, but this is the first study that has shown the impact on the US healthcare system. It is thought that the impact of the healthcare benefits of dog ownership is probably much greater than this study was even able to elucidate. The next step is not mandatory dog ownership, or as much as us veterinarians would like- tax deductible pet expenses (they are considering this in California). The next step is to share with people that your healthcare may start in your household, before you go to the doctors office (pet owners visit a doctor 0.6 times less than non-pet owners). Maybe the key to partisan divisiveness is if both sides start walking dogs together. Naive- yes, but sometimes it's the simple things that can heal the individual and the system.