Obamacare Has Veterinarians Howling – You Won’t Believe This!

Everyone knows the expression, “Stupid is as stupid does.” When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, or more recently discovered to be the Patient Extortion and Unaffordable Care Act was passed in the dead of night behind closed doors, a 2.3 percent tax was attached to medical devices, such as X-ray, ultrasound and laboratory. Its purpose was meant to have device manufacturers and their buyers contribute to the cost of the healthcare expansion since they would benefit from increased business through insured patients. Well, it seems there was an unfortunate group who is now suffering an extra cost without the extra income.

obamacareThis group’s patients are not getting coverage through this atrocious piece of legislation. However, these patients at times require the use of these identified medical devices, but these doctors will not see any increase in business through insured patients.

If you haven’t guessed by now, this group of doctors are veterinarians. Since some of the same equipment used on humans are used on animals, some vets will be paying the tax on these medical devices as well.

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“We are not getting any more patients from the Affordable Care Act, and we should not be pulled into this,” Dr. Douglas Aspros, a past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association which represents more than 84,000 vets, told Galewitz. The association has joined device makers and business groups lobbying for a repeal of the tax.

Repealing the tax, along with a year’s delay in enacting the remaining parts of Obamacare, has been a key goal of Republicans in Congress, and a point of contention in how to end the ongoing government shutdown.

The White House has dismissed a repeal of the tax, although some Democrats – particularly those with device makers in their districts in Minnesota, Massachusetts and New Jersey – oppose the tax. They argue that like any tax, it hurts sales and will cost jobs.

Aspros, who has a practice in Westchester County north of New York City, said any device that is not labeled specifically for veterinary use is subject to the 2.3 percent tax, which is expected to raise $30 billion for several years.

As a result, he said veterinarians may have to pass on the extra costs when they bill patients for treating their pets.

Aspros told Kaiser Health that visits to pet doctors have fallen since the economic downturn. “This is an additional expense…and we do not need to bear this burden on top of an already stressed environment,” he said.

Aspros said the tax may sound trivial, but “if a device costs $30,000 to $40,000, it is not a trivial expense.” The drawback could be that some veterinarians may delay upgrading their equipment in order to avoid the added tax.

Is nothing sacrosanct to this administration? Now the individuals who treat our cherished companions, whom this atrocious bill has no jurisdiction over, will be suffering at the hands of this out of control administration. So, not only will Americans be paying increased insurance premiums and increased healthcare costs for themselves, they will be paying increased veterinarian bills for their non-human friends. Unfortunately, there are Americans who will abandon their family pets at shelters or throw them out on the street due to the rise in cost for care. It has already been happening as the economy shrinks and work hours are cut.

In fact, our house has sometimes been known as “The Home for Wayward Cats” as there have been several who have taken up residence here. Many have been tame, loving creatures, evident of being accustomed to human companions, but a couple have been wild. There is one who is now living under the porch that evidently hurt his/her front leg and walks on the other three. Unable to get close enough to the cat to tame it, we have provided the animal with the basics in hopes to eventually tame it so we can examine its leg. We would like to get the animal seen by the vet to determine its health status and condition of the injured leg.

The other wild cat that showed up would hiss, spit and slap when trying to feed him or get near him. After months of feeding and gradual introduction to our presence, he has now been tamed and aptly named Marcus. With a little more prodding, Marcus will soon be off to the vet for a checkup and a neutering. He’ll really love me for that one.

Surprisingly enough, they all seem to get along with the cherished “little terrorist” – go figure.

At one point, I had made a deal with the “little terrorist’s” vet to be seen due to this abominable law, but alas, it seems even the animal physicians cannot escape extortion by this administration.

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