Affordable Care Act could increase pet care costs

Affordable Care Act could increase pet care costs (Image 1)

Health care costs for your pets could increase because of the Affordable Care Act.

That's what Dr. Mike Hatcher of Premier Vet Care Animal Hospital is Smyrna is worried about.

On any given day Dr. Hatcher sees as many as 100 four-legged patients for routine check-ups or major surgery.

Hatcher said his business just expanded to a larger location in Smyrna.

“Our supplies can be, in any given month, somewhere between 30 to 40 percent of our expenses,” explained Hatcher, who oversees five other veterinarians and about 20 other staff members.

Hatcher told Nashville's News 2 that President Obama's Affordable Care Act includes a new two point three percent tax on medical devices that are used both for human health and veterinary care, and that's why Hatcher is concerned.

“We just, this past week, got two letters from manufacturers stating that the products are going up by somewhere between five to eight percent,” said Hatcher, “As those products start coming up in price, we're going to have to pass that along to our consumers.”

He said prices at his practice have remained the same so far, but he's preparing for an increase based on how much more expensive his equipment and supplies become.

“As they pass those costs on, it's going to increase the cost of things like needles, syringes, gauze, IV catheters, things we use every day,” he stated.

A decision to charge more from patients is one Hatcher said he would rather avoid, but it's a decision he believes is necessary for their bottom line.

“If I don't pass it on, I now can't provide that raise to my staff or additional benefits to my staff for the hard work that they do for our customers,” Hatcher explained.

He said he's worried a decision like that would affect his ability to retain staff.

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