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The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. —THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1788

Obamacare may drive up health care costs for your pet, too

The results of the latest Rasmussen survey, released on Thursday, show that 50 percent of Americans still favor repeal of Obamacare, while 44 oppose repeal. But the poll, which queried 1,000 likely voters, sampled only humans. It didn’t take into account the opinions of four-legged and winged members of the household whose health care costs are also likely to rise once the law is implemented.

The Heritage Foundation blog The Foundry reports on a rule published Friday by the Internal Revenue Service specifying that some medical devices used in veterinary practices will be affected by Obamacare’s 2.3-percent device tax. As with manufacturers of pacemakers, prosthetics, and other medical equipment used in treating Fido’s human parents, the makers of Fido’s implantable chip are almost certain to pass on the cost of the nuisance tax to the consumer.

The IRS rule states:

Section 4191 [of the Internal Revenue Code] limits the definition of a taxable medical device to devices described in section 201(h) of the [Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act] that are intended for humans, but does not provide that the device must be intended exclusively for humans. Under existing [Food and Drug Administration] regulations, 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.

The Foundry notes that common “dual use” devices under the FDA definition include “examination gloves, sterile catheters, infusion pumps,” and so on.

The article cites a recent survey of 181 manufacturers that indicates that a 52.5-percent majority plan to “pass along some or all of the increased cost [of the tax] to our consumers.”

Pet owners already spend in excess of $12 billion per year on veterinary care. With the costs of maintaining man’s best friend on the upswing even as the economy continues to trend downward, will people start giving up their pets for Lent? Stay tuned.

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Howard Portnoy has written for HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.

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