Heritage Foundation investigative reporter Lachlan Markay wrote a story last week that got people howling. The IRS recently ruled that some of the common devices used in veterinary offices will be hit be hit by Obamacare’s 2.3 percent device tax.  In response, many of the manufacturers are expected to raise their prices, which will raise pet care costs for concerned owners.

A survey in January 2012 showed that more than half  of 181 manufactures of medical devices said they would pass some or all of the tax on to their customers.  Among manufacturers here in North America, that number was even higher–58 percent. According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent over $13.5 billion on veterinary care in 2012.  This could rise under Obamacare.

The tax will not affect veterinary equipment that is used exclusively for treating animals.  However, several medical devices are used in both doctors and veterinary offices, and these are subject to the tax.

According to the new Taxable Medical Devices Rule

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.

As Markay explains, some of the dual use devices that fall under this rule include common items such as “examination gloves, sterile catheters, infusion pumps, etc.”  When you think on how many gloves alone a vet must go though, it’s easy to imagine the effect this tax will have on Fluffy and Fido’s medical bills.

What do you think about this Obamacare tax?

Comments (38)

Harold & Tommie Samuels - December 20, 2012

This latest program, like most of the President’s programs,

John Hazeltine - December 20, 2012

Since my son works for a medical device company, I’m not
excited to see this tax ding his compensation and his firm’s
worldwide competitveness. Some lobby greater than theirs got this
tax enacted. It is unjust and needs to be dropped.

Fred Wilson - December 20, 2012

My idea of a sensible tax approach is: The Simple
Consumption Tax
Proposed, an amendment Section
The sixteenth article of amendment to the Constitution
of the United States is hereby repealed. Section
A tax to be collected at the point of consumption{1}of
all new{2} goods and services, except as exempt by this act, at a
rate to be set by 2/3 vote of Congress as required, is hereby
established. Items in the following classes shall be exempt;
unprepared food{3}, drugs{4}, and medical treatment{5}.
The following is provided for regulatory guidance and does
not constitute a part of the amendment:
1 The
tax is on the end user or consumer. In this context end user or
customer means the retail customer. While some might argue that a
corporation or business is a consumer of office supplies, services,
utilities and raw materials we treat them as the cost of doing
business that is included in the cost of the end product. A case
that requires special treatment is those items like motor fuel
where the tax is usually included in the price at the pump. This
can be handled in two ways. Businesses that pay at the point of
purchase can apply for a rebate on the taxes paid. The preferred
mechanism would be to issue special credit cards and have the
clearing organization remove the taxes before charging the card
holder’s account and crediting the vendor.
2 The
restriction to new goods and services and the following exceptions
is to lower the impact on lower income citizens who would be
expected to purchase used items and spend a disproportionate
portion of their income on the necessities of life.

3 Ingredients as would normally be purchased at a grocery
store. Food purchased at at restaurant or catered meal would be
taxed. For example an apple purchased at a grocery store is not
taxed but if it is provided as a healthy choice menu item at a
location where it is intended to be consumed on location or “to go”
it is taxable.
4 We would assume that the term
“drug” is restricted to those items that fall under the
responsibility of the Federal Food and Drug
5 Those procedures and/or
treatments performed and/or prescribed by a licensed medical
As you will note if you read this far is
that I totally disagree with Obama in that I do not believe that
necessities like medical care and food should be taxed. Sin taxes
and luxury taxes maybe though I consider them just another consumer
purchase but not the very stuff of life. Obviously I am not as
concerned about Fido as I am about grand dad but the IRS does not
make a distinction.

Michael D Armstrong Jr - December 20, 2012

Why is someone not making a loud point about the fact that
the argumant for this tax is to help fund “ObamaCare” is a
contradiction because a tax on devices/costs within the healthcare
system on increases the costs the tax is said to fund!!!

Ginny - December 20, 2012

This does not surprise me. Medications are also going
through the roof. My dog takes phenobarbital for seizures. I always
paid $35 for 200 pills (1gr each). This month they went to $65 and
are less than the 1gr he was used to. I was told it was because
they had to get it from a different manufacturer. I think there
will be a lot less medications available with Obamacare… glad I
got more years behind me than ahead of me. I will probably be one
to whom Obama says “It would be better to just give you a pill than
medical treatment.” He’s already started with Fido and Fluffy…
the humans are next.

Russ Boggs - December 20, 2012

What’s next? When a persons health is controlled as under
obamacare that one law alone is enough to control a population. Now
if they can take more $ away from the folks, that’s less to spend
on something else a person may want. That’s more control. Freedoms
eroded one by one.

Melissa - December 20, 2012

I may not know all the whys and wherefores, but it sounds
like double taxation. Didn’t the doctors and veterinarians already
pay sales tax when they initially bought the

Angel Brothers - December 20, 2012

“According to the American Pet Products Association,
Americans spent over $13.5 billion on veterinary care in 2012. This
could rise under Obamacare.” is the conclusion of the article I
just read discussing the tax on medical devices that not only are
used in human medicine but also in veterinary medicine. I am a
veterinarian in Alabama and I have looked into this matter somewhat
since it will affect my business. Class I & II medical
devices under the FDA include things like exam gloves, bandage
materials, cotton swabs, catheters, blood tubes…. MANY items used
in every aspect of diagnosing and treating humans and animals. A
tax on these things will significantly raise costs of doing
business and therefore cost to the pet owner. The statement I
quoted at the beginning of my comment about the amount pet owners
spend may increase compared to last year is a big concern to me. It
may increase, if people continue to provide the same level of care
for their pets. But, pets are a luxury and although some would
spend without limit to care for them, many will not. Pets will
suffer, the veterinary small businesses will suffer and so will the
employees of them.

Amarlalis Hazlip - December 20, 2012

Obamacare from start to finish is a FRAUD. They are trying
any way possible to rob the American people of all they have, no
matter how small the amount. We have sown the seeds of wickedness
and now we shall reap what we have sown. May God have mercy on us
for deserting Him.

Randy - December 20, 2012

The whole damned law is unconstitutional no matter what
Chief Justice John Roberts’ contorted reasoning produced.

Linley A. Anderson - December 20, 2012

It’s an obomination!! Just one more example of the insanity
and stupidity coming from the White House.!! How long must we put
up with all the indignity being done to our CONSTITUTION?? All this
chaos by an insignificant “community antagonizer”

Barry Muldrey Sr - December 20, 2012

Obama’s “fundamental transformation” does not include any
real concern for the problems of government spending much, much
more than we or our children can ever afford. It does include
increasing government power infinitely while reducing individual
freedom to the same extent. Taxing everything in sight, increasing
taxes on everything, for everyone, & discarding all
constitutional restraints on federal government regulations is all
about Obama’s “transformed” America. His brand of redistribution of
wealth is really — surprise, surprise — about punishment
& destruction of the old America. (People who have pets
that they spend assets on, in caring for them, are people who “did
not earn their” success/affluence; “if you have a successful
business, you didn’t build that… you stole it from others less
gifted or less inclined to work hard.” So… it only makes sense to
include veterinary patrons among those to be punished.

Ellen - December 20, 2012

The only way Americans are going to wake up to the cost of
Obamacare is if they personally have to pay more for something.
Congress passed the bill without reading it. Now we know what’s in
it and it’s too late. The majority of people voted for the man
whose signature piece of legislation was the passage of this bill.
Now the rest of us must suffer the consequences of an uninformed
electorate who made him their president for another four

John Daugherty - December 20, 2012

all taxes are ultimately paid by the consumer – and that’s
you and me. If you want your standard of living lowered to pay for
it, maybe you are for the tax increase. My personal opinion is that
no government does anything well, so should stay out of almost
everything at all levels, and the lower the level, (city, county,
State, and Federal) things are enforced, the more efficient
enforcement is.

Mary Jane Casablanca - December 20, 2012

i think all of Obamacare should be repealed!

mach37 - December 20, 2012

Any manufacturer, buyer or user of medical devices taxed under Obamacare, or taxed under ANY other tax rule, would be an idiot for NOT passing on the tax to customers and/or patients in the form of increased charges for services and products.

Arthur G. Emerson - December 20, 2012

The unfortunate ability of the United States government to come up with absurd taxes like this just reflects on how far out of touch they are with the American public. Just one more example of tax more to spend more. The longer we go the more deception we uncover. The deceit that continues to unfold from this president, is a major concern. The Bangladesh issue alone should be enough to dismiss several of Obama’s cabinet members. Have we forgotten the word Treason?

Joann Reitenour - December 20, 2012

I don’t like it!

Marian - December 20, 2012

People are reluctant to adopt animals as it is because of the costs involved and now this provision comes to light. Someone needs to be merciful and put Obamacare to sleep, never to awake again.

KayKay - December 20, 2012

This tax, like the rest of the so-called healthcare reform,
is the brainchild of a Washington bureaucrat who knows next to nothing about how the real world works. The taxt will undoubtedly gets passed on to the consumer. Whoever thinks this administration’s version of healthcare reform is in the best interest of the American citizen is sadly disillusioned. It is a government power-grab – plain and simple.

Sharron Ashton - December 20, 2012

It’s ridiculous. My puppy takes 3 phenobarbital tablets a day. The price has tripled even before the tax takes effect. In every instance, a new tax or an increase in an old tax, means we—the taxpayers—will pay more for the service or the product. But this is all part of Obama’s plan to punish each and everyone of us—including our pets.

elaine - December 20, 2012

I knew this mess was coming back in 2009 and 2010 when it was being “pushed” down our throats. No one, including our pets, are exempt from the madness coming from this regime.

Gary Moore - December 20, 2012

Obama Care, all around, Sucks!

Mary Spero - December 21, 2012

I feel for the pet owners, but I have bigger problems. I am a senior on Medicare. This year, 2012, and for previous years on medicare, I had a supplemental Medicare plan with Humana. They DROPPED this plan starting in 2013. The Humana plan that I have had since turning 65 not only covered medical with co-pays to approved doctors of between $5.00/$30.00, but it also covered many dental procedures (NO more dental with ANY provider), eyeglasses (I need trifocals with automatic sun blocking for outside – NO more), health clubs (NO more), FREE transportation to and from surgery centers (NO more), FREE OTC drugs such as aspirin, cold remedies, etc. (NO more), and a whole bunch of other stuff that has just gone away, My insurance costs for 2013, assuming I need the exact same care I received in 2012, including the BIG increase I have to pay to the US government in 2012, will now cost me ALMOST $5000.00 more in 2013. I am NOT RICH! My income is $770.00 in SS. You tell me WHY I must pay an additional $5000,00 MORE NEXT YEAR! Obamacare is sending me to the cemetery – NOT THE DOCTOR!

Jeff Yetter - December 21, 2012

It is well established that the entire 2300+ pgs of this “legislation”(?!?!) is a blight on every sector of the American economy, with NO positive, tangible benefits. Thus, I would ask, why would it be necessary to parse ANY aspect of this miscreant garbage heap?

Barbara Marvel - December 21, 2012

Now starts the insanity we know as Obamacare and its not yet Jan. Its so difficult to get DME and modifications pd for, for indigent families I serve as their PT,; It will only get harder….for EVERYONE. Medicaid already disallows equipment for toileting,sleeping safe and marginal comfort for severely disabled. I am still incredulous that Americans voted Obama in for 4 more years. What has happened to our soul?

J.Guidry - December 21, 2012

All of the taxes to take effect due to Obamacare’s enactment are a result of the lack of common sense and logic on the part of the administration and congress spending habits. Sorta like a spouse who has a credit card and refuses to curb the use of it. The folks in D.C. don’t have to live by the same economic rules that every household in this nation must to exist. The D.C. idiots have a never ending supply of funds, or seem to think so, in the taxpayers of this country. Need more money to pay for the “feel good” programs, which garner the proponents of said programs more useful idiots for votes for re-election? Just pass more restrictive taxes on the productive members of our society. Stupid policy will result in stupid results. Like the “Samuels” say, “this latest program, like most of the President;s programs, SUCKS”. Just another scam to collect more money for the elected idiots in D.C. to spend, or an attempt by this administration to destroy this nation’s economy. I choose the latter for the reason for doing so cause that is what it will do.
A FairTax or even a flat tax, minus the present income tax system is infinitely better for both the economy and the citizens of this nation.

Joe Ruffino - December 21, 2012

It is a stupid tax implemented by stupid and evil people, the enablers and the implementers

Stephen Clark - December 21, 2012

Wonder if ” pet pickup bags” will be taxed. There is no level to which these people will not sink. Prob’ ly shouldn’t give ’em ideas huh?

Eugene Hoffman - December 21, 2012

I find the whole idea of the compulsory purchase of any produdct, whether it is good for me or not, repulsive, against the constitution, and Statist. Animals are not people, humans take on the extra expense with their eyes wide open, (as they should any expense): for the government to tax the industry and eventually drive up the cost of pet owneship is a sad comment on where our society is headed. We are becoming a country that is run by the Government for Special interest factions, and lobbies; a government that picks winners and losers and is well on the way to becoming a dictatorship with 535 or, so,mini despots in control. I have in the past been against term limits; however, I now believe that they must be put into the constitution so serious minded politicians, from both sides, can deflate and trim the size, scope and power of Government.

Mary Bruggenkamp - December 21, 2012

I am afraid that God will have to protect a lot of senior citizen with health problems who are in for a high cost of Health Care. I have COPD which means I am one to be given the pill instead of treatment for this disease in my lungs. Only Jesus Christ will be able to rescue us by leading The Heritage and other Christian Org. in their fight against unfair practices of the Federal Government. Now we need to add our pets to this list for protection from Obama.

Jack Banowsky - December 21, 2012

Obamacare should be repealed, plain and simple.
Hopefully, Congress will defund this sorry excuse for legislation.

Patricia - December 21, 2012

The same thing I felt before finding out about this new
tax. It’s a big fat power grab for this administration.

Lula T Moehrbach - December 21, 2012

There are many elderly people who have been forced to give
up an adored pet because they could no longer afford to take care
of them. ObamaCare’s great tax on even vet supplies will add an
additional burden that the elderly & many others cannot
afford. Pets have been proven to be good for a person’s health who
lives alone…as companionship means so much someone living alone.
The ones making the rules are NOT affected by them! THEY should
feel very ashamed.

Ron Rodgers - December 21, 2012

Get ready. More waste and fraud, paid from your hard earned
taxed dollars, are coming.

holly chapo - December 21, 2012

Is there no end to the destructive taxes that have been imposed via this so-called affordable care act? The House needs to act to defund as much of this abyssmal legislation as possible. I just wonder if they have the moral courage to do so.

Juliana McQuaid - December 21, 2012

Repeal Obama Care!

james c hughes iii - December 22, 2012

No creature seems safe from our ravenous cancer of the federal gov”t.

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