Obamacare Problems for Pet Owners Too

Obamacare is unfair to pet owners too.  The 2.3% medical device tax included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was added to help offset a portion of the cost of the program.  Doctors and hospitals are supposed to see an increase in patients to help them adjust to this increased cost.  But the problem is that the tax is being levied on the veterinary practice as well.  Your pet will not be covered under Obamacare and your veterinarian will not see an increase in patients because of it.  Yet they are still required to pay the tax.

The IRS rule states:

Section 4191 [of the Internal Revenue Code] limits the definition of a taxable medical device to devices described in section 201(h) of the [Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act] that are intended for humans, but does not provide that the device must be intended exclusively for humans. Under existing [Food and Drug Administration] regulations, a device intended for use exclusively in veterinary medicine is not required to be listed as a device with the FDA, whereas a device intended for use in human medicine is required to be listed as a device with the FDA even if the device may also be used in veterinary medicine.

According to the FDA, common “dual use” medical devices are “examination gloves, sterile catheters, infusion pumps, etc.”  The tax applies to equipment and machinery, including ultrasound and X-ray devices, and veterinarians are charged the tax since they use the same machines and supplies, which are designed for people, on pets.


To make up for the added expense, some veterinarians are passing on the cost to their patients, meaning higher veterinary costs for the nation’s pet owners.  Some pet owners cannot afford this extra cost, which is contributing to a drop in veterinary visits, resulting in detrimental effects to the health of pets.  In addition, it could be enough of a financial burden for smaller veterinary practices to turn away animal shelters and other rescue organizations, as they normally get discounted rates.

The American Veterinary Medical Association, which represents over 84,000 vets, is teaming up with businesses and device makers to repeal the tax.


You can add your voice by calling your senators and congressman on the unfairness of this tax.  It is unfair to your veterinarian, yourselves and your pet.


Your veterinarian may even have to employ his children to help.


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