Jewish World Review March 15, 2013/ 4 Nissan, 5773
Vet Prices Going Up Thanks to ObamaCare
By Greg Crosby
There's another little bonus for all you pet owners out there - thanks to Obamacare your visits to the vet are going to be more expensive now. That's right, veterinary bills for Fluffy, Rover, and Polly are being increased as Obamacare kicks in. And you thought this would only affect humans, right? Just another unintended consequence of Washington medical reform.
The CBS affiliate in Miami reported how dog owner Lori Heiselman was surprised when her veterinarian posted a warning on Facebook. The notice read: "Because medical equipment and supplies will be going up in cost, that extra expense will have to be passed on to the customer." It's all part of a new 2.3-percent federal excise tax on certain medical devices that just went into effect. The tax will help pay for Obamacare, intended for people, not pets.
Manufacturers are getting slapped with the tax, but a recent survey found more than half of them plan to pass it along to the vets who in turn will pass it along to their customers. Kind of like hot potato. Many animal doctors say they have no choice but to pass it along since they can't afford to take the tax hit. A case in point is Dr. Mike Hatcher who explained, "I'm extremely concerned how this is going to be a hidden tax to our consumers that is going to be passed on."
Medical devices that are used only on animals are exempt. But any medical devices that can be used on people as well as animals will be subject to the new tax. These items include IV pumps, sterile scalpels and anesthesia equipment, all of which are medical devices that have a dual use, meaning they can be used on people and animals. Hatcher said, "Putting off an equipment purchase is something that can terribly affect our clients' ability to have quality care."
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. The organizations members are waiting to hear from more device makers. Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, director of the Governmental Relations Division of the American Veterinary Medical Association said, "Congress never intended for this tax to impact veterinarian medicine and unfortunately it has, and I think that's very unfortunate that veterinarian medicine now is subsidizing human health care."
And since we're on the subject of unintended consequences of Obamacare, let's move now from bulldogs to hot dogs. From beagles to burgers. A national chain of restaurants called Five Guys have announced that they will be raising prices of burgers and hot dogs in order to cover the president's mandated insurance coverage.
"Any added costs are going to have to be passed on," said Mike Ruffer, a Five Guys franchise holder with eight of the popular restaurants in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. area. He will need all the profits from at least one of his eight outlets just to cover his estimated added $60,000-a year in new Obamacare costs.
Not only that, but he's scrapped plans to build another three restaurants until after the administration explains the exact rules and penalties employers will face under the new law. The law's plan to have those available March 1 has been pushed back to October, which leaves restaurant operators like Ruffer in the dark concerning additional costs. Many other operators are in the same boat.
Business owners like Ruffer are being punished for being too successful. Because he has enough full time employees to activate the law, he faces either coughing up the money to provide health insurance or paying a fine of up to $3,000 per worker. Or he can let people go or cut down on their hours of work. But whatever he does, he has to raise his prices to customers in order to stay in business. Thanks Obama. Nice going.
And the health care law isn't only going to hit Ruffer. He's quizzed his workers to ask if they understand that they will be fined if they don't get health insurance. Just one of 20 workers was aware of the $95 tax penalty that rises to $695 by 2016. That's right, they either have to pay for health insurance or they pay a fine to Uncle Sam. Or should I say Uncle Barack.
These two examples are only the tip of the Obamacare costs and consequences which will be coming to your wallet in the months and years ahead. So to all you idealistic liberals who thought that Obamacare meant "free medical coverage," get ready to pay dearly for it. And in lots of ways you didn't figure on. Maybe someday you'll figure out that nothing the government gives you is ever free. Suckers.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
© 2008, Greg Crosby