CFA: Vet bills for your pets increasing
Tax on medical equipment passed along to consumers
Published : Saturday, 23 Feb 2013, 2:03 PM EST
Because medical equipment and supplies will be going up in cost, the extra expense will be passed on to the customers. But why the price increase? It's part of a new 2.3% federal excise tax on certain medical devices that just went into effect. The tax will help fund the Patient Protection Program and the Affordable Care Act, intended for people, not pets. Manufacturers pay the tax, but a recent survey found more than half plan to pass it along, something most veterinarians can't afford.
Medical devices used only on animals are exempt, but items like IV pumps, sterile scalpels, and anesthesia equipment, which are duel use devices, as in they can be used on both humans and animals, will be taxed. Veterinarians fear higher prices could have animals owners holding off on medical care, or vets postponing the purchase of new devices.
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, and they're waiting to hear from device makers.
"Congress never intended for this tax to impact veterinarian medicine and unfortunately it has, and I think that's very unfortunate that medicine is subsidizing human health care", said Dr. Mark Lutschaunig of the AVMA.
Congressional sources, who worked on the Affordable Care Act, told us lawmakers tried to exclude vets from being impacted by the dual use medical taxes, but it was too complicated.
Vets say if your pet is sick or acting strangely, don't delay care, that could just cause medical problems to get worse. If you're concerned with the cost of vet care, be sure and talk to your vet about payment plans or other financial options.