Victimized at the Vet’s by ObamaCare

By:  Michael Tennant
03/15/2013
       
Victimized at the Vet’s by ObamaCare

ObamaCare's new medical device tax isn't just making human healthcare more expensive; it's also raising the cost of veterinary care.

If you’re a regular reader of The New American, you are well aware by now that ObamaCare is very bad for humans. But did you know it’s also bad for their furry friends?

As with human healthcare, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — contrary to its moniker — makes veterinary care less affordable. In fact, one provision of the law is responsible for rising costs in both human and animal healthcare: the new medical device tax.

In order to pay for the law’s massive new spending, since the first of the year the federal government has imposed a 2.3-percent excise tax on certain medical devices. “Medical devices used only on animals are exempt,” reports Miami TV station WFOR. “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.”

Medical device manufacturers, naturally, are not inclined to eat those taxes — especially since the taxes will be levied whether or not they turn a profit, potentially causing them to owe the government more than they earn. A recent industry survey by the consulting firm Emergo Group found that almost 33 percent of device makers expect the tax to have a “very negative impact” on their bottom lines; 52.5 percent of them — and 58 percent of those based in North America — plan to pass the increased costs along to their customers. (Another 16.6 percent said they plan to cut staff to mitigate the cost; at least one device maker, Kalamazoo, Michigan-based Stryker Corporation, has already begun slashing its workforce in anticipation of the tax.)

Of course, if the cost to the vet goes up, so does the cost to the patient — or, rather, the patient’s owner. One vet, says WFOR, actually posted this notice on Facebook: “Because medical equipment and supplies will be going up in cost, that extra expense will have to be passed on to the customers.”

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