J. D. Heyes
March 15, 2013
“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.” As more and more Obamacare rules and regulations go into effect, former House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s now-infamous quote comes readily to mind.
Most Americans are finally realizing that the law will raise, not lower, the cost of healthcare for humans, but only a few people have sounded the alarm about Obamacare’s ever-expanding costs to treat our pets.
“Pet owners listen up: You may want to start saving more money for veterinarian care this year,” reports CBS‘ Miami affiliate. “The reason goes all the way back to Washington and an unintended consequence from medical reform.”
The law imposes new taxes on medical equipment, you see, and that includes medical equipment designed to treat pets and other critters.
‘I’m extremely concerned how this is going to be a hidden tax to our consumers…’
“Many vets may encounter an increase in medical devices and equipment as a result of a provision in the health care law that places a 2.3 percent federal excise tax on various health technologies. This tax, implemented to help fund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (i.e. Obamacare), was never intended to impact pets,” The Blaze reported.
Technically, the manufacturers have to pay the tax, but reports say more than half of them have announced plans to pass along those additional costs to customers (that would be the vets) who in turn will have no choice but to pass them on to clients.
“I’m extremely concerned how this is going to be a hidden tax  to our consumers that is going to be passed on,” Dr. Mike Hatcher, a vet, told CBSMiami, which explained how this all works:
Medical devices used only on animals are exempt. However, items including IV pumps, sterile scalpels and anesthesia equipment, which are medical  devices that have a dual use, meaning they can be used on people and animals, will be taxed…
The American Veterinary Medical Association represents 82,000 vets. At this point, they don’t know how much this new tax will indirectly cost them. The organizations members are waiting to hear from more device makers.
“Putting off an equipment purchase is something that can terribly affect our clients’ ability to have quality care,” said Hatcher.
While this issue has gained a lot of attention lately, some experts have known for some time that these new pet care  costs were coming.
In December 2012, the Heritage Foundation, on its blog site, The Foundry:
American health care consumers aren’t the only ones who will be hit by slated Obamacare  tax hikes. Medical bills for their pets may go up as well.
According to a rule published Friday by the Internal Revenue Service, some medical devices used in veterinary practices will be hit by Obamacare’s 2.3 percent device tax. Many of their manufacturers are expected to hike prices, meaning higher veterinary costs for the nation’s pet owners.
New Obamacare-related costs are just beginning, folks
The group went on to cite the IRS rule  that implements the tax.
In all, the medical device tax, Heritage noted, was expected to raise the costs of healthcare for man and beast alike:
The device tax is expected to raise costs for consumers. A recent survey of 181 manufacturers found that a 52.5 percent majority plan to “pass along some or all of the increased cost [of the tax] to our consumers.” Among North American manufacturers, the portion who said they would raise prices was an even higher 58 percent.
“Across the board there is bigger inclination among firms to raise prices and pass on costs to customers as a way to deal with the U.S. tax,” the survey noted.
There are many more taxes and other expenditures ahead due to “unforeseen consequences” created by Obamacare, and we will be documenting each one.