One reason that France’s economy lags behind other advanced countries is its plethora of entitlements — from a 35-hour workweek to state pension costs that are double those of the U.S. Now its capital (Paris) is going even further and adding state-subsidized pet care to its social insurance burdens.
It was only a matter of time.
Jean-Philippe Gillet, a Communist member of the Paris City Council, says his plan “was passed by a unanimous vote, with both right and left in favor.” He promises it will not cost owners more than about $6 a month, compared to comprehensive private insurance at about $200 a month. Good luck with that, as governments who pay the soaring cost of medical care for two-legged creatures have sadly learned.
No one is sure if the city-sponsored insurance plan will cover rabbits, hamsters, parakeets, and more exotic pets. Animal rights activists are insisting that pet rats should be included.
“Rats must have their place in the plan,” said Nicolas Bonnet-Oulaldj, president of the Communist contingent in the Paris council. Health officials are appalled at the idea, noting that there are already 1.5 to 2 wild, disease-carrying rats for every person in Paris. What about mosquitoes and spiders?
By the way, in the U.S., the cost of veterinary services has grown much more slowly than for physician services for people. We wonder if pet coverage will lead to a similar surge in veterinarians’ bills.