Obamacare Could Increase Cost of Pet Health Care
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Scalpels, IV pumps, anesthesia equipment, fluid warmers, dental x-ray machines: common in human health care - and pet health care too. A 2.3 percent tax on medical devices has been enacted under the Affordable Care Act.
Devices strictly for pets are exempt, but those that can be used on pets and humans are not. Manufacturers pay the tax. More than half reportedly plan to pass the cost on. A vet in Tennessee is leading the charge and being quoted across the country as saying he's "extremely concerned" for his clients.
Here in Charlotte, Dr. Wayne Mercer at SouthPark Animal Hospital has this approach. "In most cases, we're gonna try and absorb any costs like that. I think the impact should be pretty small at this point."
Dog owner Marguerite Rupar says her hands - and her vet's - are tied when it comes to the cost increase. She says, "Nothing he can do about it. He has a business that he has to run and he has to do it so he can stay in business and take care of my dog."
Jenn Stiles budgets health care costs for her dog Mia. She'll ask her vet about the tax at her next appointment. "Without the cost rising, it's tough as it is. I think it would be a really unfortunate situation if it did in fact affect pet health care in a negative manner," she says.
Back at SouthPark Animal Hospital, no patients have asked about the tax yet. Mercer has this advice for owners who want to prepare for their pet's health care costs: "It never hurts to set aside probably in the range of $200-$500 to be on the safe side."
Mercer says less than five percent of the medical devices he purchases are taxable under the Affordable Care Act.