The Victorian leg of the Animal Justice Party has put forward a proposal for vet care to be free or subsidised through a Medicare-style system it’s calling “Veticare”.
Per the ABC, the animal rights group put forward the idea to the Victorian Government after news of Australia’s vet shortage emerged. It has forced closures and immense pressure on the veterinary industry, especially in regional and rural parts of the country.
That paired with the number of people adopting animals over the pandemic lockdown years has resulted in stress for clinics and pet owners alike.
The minor party’s proposed plans include things like establishing a Medicare-style bulk-billing scheme for vet visits and creating public vet hospitals to help ease the financial pressures of caring for a pet.
Party leader Andy Meddick told the ABC the Veticare system would help to ease some of the overworking stress on animal care staff and in turn make sure pets and wildlife are being properly taken care of.
“Just like we can visit our doctor with a Medicare card, Veticare creates public clinics allowing for free or low-cost appointments,” he said.
“We had to find a way to alleviate pressure on vets and their mental stress … so we looked to the health system and Medicare.”
Apparently, the Veticare system would require pet owners to pay an annual fee to get a card they can present at vet appointments. Then they’d have to pay a scheduled fee and possibly a gap fee.
It would be eligible to all Victorian pet owners, and anyone on a concession, pension or healthcare card would have all their pets’ vet costs covered, just like doctor’s visits through Medicare.
Those who work in animal rescue and care would have their annual fee waived as a nod to their services to protecting and caring for animals.
Meddick predicts the scheme would cost the Victorian government more than $10 million to roll out but once it gets up and running “the benefit would far outweigh the costs”.
Sounds like a pretty good plan but can we also have universal human health care, too?