NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Why Some Veterinarians Have a Bone to Pick With ObamaCare

October 11, 2013

Dr. Douglas Aspros says the federal health law is increasing his costs to buy medical equipment, which he has no choice but to pass onto his patients -- most whom are uninsured. None of Aspros' patients, though, will benefit from the law's expansion of coverage.  Aspros, you see, treats dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, parrots and other small animals at his veterinary center in Pound Ridge, New York, says Kaiser Health News.

  • The law's 2.3 percent medical device tax, which started this year, was meant to have device manufacturers and their buyers contribute to the cost of expanding health coverage because they would benefit from having more business from insured patients.
  • But some devices used on humans are also used for animals, including ultrasound machines, laboratory and X-ray equipment.
  • So as a result,veterinarians have to pay the extra tax as well.

The tax -- estimated to raise $30 billion for the law over the next decade -- has become a pawn in political fight over the health law with Republicans calling for its repeal in a deal to end the government shutdown. Many 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 them jobs.

The Obama administration opposes repealing the tax.

Source: Phil Galewitz, "Why Some Veterinarians Have a Bone to Pick With ObamaCare," Kaiser Health News, October 8, 2013.


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