Fox & Friends on Friday may have finally offered up the alternative to "ObamaCare" that Republicans and other health reform opponents haven't stepped up with.

The solution? Treat patients as if they were pets.

To be fair, it wasn't the Fox show hosts' idea. It came from a Newsweek article by veterinary oncologist Karen Oberthaler, who offers an idea for reducing health care costs. She says modeling treatment for humans after veterinary clinics could reduce the use of wasteful and often unnecessary tests.

"A very brilliant veterinary oncologist has a suggestion. She says we should treat people like they treat their dogs," guest host Dari Alexander said.

"Which makes a lot of sense," host Steve Doocy responded, to a few guffaws from his co-hosts.

Yet Doocy may have had a point. In her Newsweek article, Oberthaler explains how the method used at her veterinary clinic could be used to cut down on redundant or unnecessary testing:

I explain what I think is going on, what I want to look for, and which tests I need to perform to find it. I rank the diagnostics from most to least essential and lay out approximate costs. My clients then choose what they want done, with an understanding of the relative importance, risk, and cost of each option. This step-by-step approach may seem time-consuming, but it dramatically reduces the number of expensive, unnecessary tests. And the process is more gratifying.

Of course it didn't take long for one of the Fox hosts to bring up "death panels."

"I think dogs should be treated like people, in terms of respect for life," co-host Peter B. Johnson, Jr., said. "But growing up all I ever heard ... was 'The dog got put down' ... 'We can't pay to keep the dog alive.' Are we going to start applying that to humans? Are we going to start putting the dog down?"

"You're talking about death panels," Alexander said.

"Well, it sounds like it, doesn't it?" Johnson replied.

Oberthaler's clients seem to disagree. The veterinarian says the question she is "asked with the second-most frequency" is, "Do you think I could be treated in this hospital?"

Which would suggest that, given the current state of health care, being treated like a dog might just be an improvement.

This video is from Fox News' Fox & Friends, broadcast March 12, 2010.

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