There are millions of dollars' worth of medical machines inside the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinarian Medicine, all to provide the best care for your animal. The hospital administrator, Doctor Richard Hiller, tells us their CT machine costs $500,000. But imagine if costs went up?
"As we are impacted even the slightest bit in our efforts to do that, we need to shuffle a little bit to figure out how to make ends meet," says Hiller.
Filed in the 974-page Affordable Care Act is a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices for humans starting Jan. 1, 2013. Animal-only devices are exempted. However, a lot of equipment used on people is used on animals, meaning it's taxable.
Hiller says last month they bought a piece of equipment for the Equine Medical Center in Leesburg. On the invoice was the excise tax on top of the original price.
"The extra 2.3 percent may have an impact on when we buy it, how we buy it, what we don't buy," says Hiller.
Just how much extra could machines cost? Tech would pay $11,500 extra for that $500,000 CT machine, which is an unfortunate aspect of the tax, says local vet Dr. Mark Finkler.
"This is unfair tax on us, it was not intended to affect animals and pet owners," says Finkler.
Finkler says most vets don't have equipment as expensive as Tech's. So, accordingly, a non-teaching veterinarian hospital wouldn't be as impacted. This ultrasound machine is $40,000.
"It is going to come from the manufacturer and undoubtedly raise the price of purchasing equipment, which will trickle down to my clients, but I do not expect a major price increase," says Finkler.
Finkler says bills would go up maybe $10 a visit, and over time may continue to increase as new technology and equipment is needed to care for your pet.