Veterinarians and pet owners don’t get a free pass on ObamaCare

by:  Scott Reeder, Illinois Policy Institute
SPRINGFIELD – Is the Internal Revenue Service barking up the wrong tree?
When ObamaCare was approved by Congress, few would have guessed that pet owners would be helping pick up part of the tab for the health care overhaul.
But earlier this month, the IRS decided that most of the equipment veterinarians use should be subject to a new tax.
“It is absolutely ludicrous that there is not a specific exemption for medical equipment that will be used for non-human or veterinary purposes,” said Peter Weber, executive director of the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association. “This is a tax to pay for a human healthcare plan.”
As part of ObamaCare, medical device makers will begin paying a 2.3 percent tax on their gross sales Jan. 1, 2013. The tax is expected to raise $29 billion in government revenues through 2022.
Even though Congress limited the tax to devices “intended for humans,” it appears veterinarians – and their clients – will feel its bite.
You see, while Congress makes laws, bureaucrats make the rules for enforcing those laws.
 And sometimes what Congress intends and what bureaucrats do are two different things.
For example, in the health care reform bill Congress limited the tax to devices “intended for humans.” But the IRS interpreted that to mean devices that could be used for humans – not just those that will be used by them.
Latex gloves, scalpels, syringes, catheters, suture material, stethoscopes, dental picks and just about any instrument a veterinarian uses also could have a human application.
In fact, medical equipment for people and animals often rolls off the same assembly lines.

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