Pet Owners: Obamacare’s Latest Victims, According To Vets

vet costs go up over obamacare

Obamacare has yielded unintended side effects for everyone from unions to fast food chains, and now veterinarians are warning that it might negatively affect pet owners as well.

Pet owners might have to save up some extra cash for the vet this year thanks to Obamacare, reports MSN. An unintended consequence from President Obama’s signature piece of medical reform legislation means that vet costs might be going up in the near future.

A veterinarian posted a warning to Facebook announcing the cost bump, saying: “Because medical equipment and supplies will be going up in cost, that extra expense will have to passed on to the customers.”

Like Papa John’s and Five Guys, vets will be handing the extra costs of insurance to the customer, upsetting many pet owners including Miami dog owner Lori Heiselman, who saw the notice on Facebook. Lori is upset about the animal care price increase, but is preparing for it either way. In her mind, her pets are worth an extra couple bucks.

“They’re very important. They’re members of the family,” she said.

But why is the price of veterinary care going up? CBS reports that it’s part of a new 2.3 percent federal excise tax on certain medical devices, which just went into effect. The tax will go to help fund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (known popularly as Obamacare) which is for us and not our pets. Still, manufacturers are meant to pay the tax, starting a wonderful game of hot potato all the way on down the chain until it stops at the customer.


Some vets are saying that they can’t afford the extra tax. Dr. Mike Hatcher 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 only used on animals are exempt. The reason vets are hit with the extra cost, however, is that items like IV pumps, sterile scalpels and anesthesia equipment, which can be used on both people and animals, will be hit by the tax. “Putting off an equipment purchase is something that can terribly affect our clients’ ability to have quality care,” Dr. Hatcher said.

The American Veterinary Medical Association represents 82,000 vets. They don’t know how much the new tax will indirectly cost them at this point, and are waiting to hear from device manufacturers.