Affordable Care Act may affect veterinary bills

Under the Affordable Care Act, a tax will be applied to machines doctors use on people. However, since veterinarians use the same machines on animals, they are also subject to the tax.
BAKERSFIELD, CA- While democrats and republicans are at odds with the Affordable Care Act in Washington, it could affect something precious to you in your home, your pets.

The Affordable Care Act is meant to affect people but pet owners may see higher vet bills.
 
Under the act, a medical device tax will be imposed. Devices including x-ray and ultrasound machines will be taxed 2.3%.

"Any medical products that we use as veterinarians that are also used in human medicine are going to be taxed," said Dr. Heidi Sheahan, veterinarian at the Rosedale Veterinary Hospital.

One local pet owner says it's just another way for the government to dip into more pockets.

"It will have an impact, an unnecessary impact. I think it's just the government's way to raise more money so they can spend more money," said Paul Pieroni.

Dr.Sheahan says it's an unfair tax. Her practice won't benefit from the thousands that will be newly insured.

"My pets don't get to benefit from the Obamacare insurance. It's not going to bring me anymore patients. In fact, it may cutback my patients if people can't afford to bring their pets in," said Dr. Sheahan. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association which represents more than 84,000 vets are teaming up with businesses and device makers to reverse the tax.

Dr. Sheahan says she doesn't know if she will pass on the entire 2.3% tax on to her customers but she says she still needs to generate income, so she can't absorb the entire cost.  
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