Co-worker Yvonne Beasley reports that her mom’s hairdresser is giving a photo to all her customers showing a Cabela’s receipt that includes a “medical excise tax” of 2.3 percent after someone bought some socks, boots, jacket and other outdoor stuff.
She added that her father is now sending letters to his representatives protesting this outrage.
It is true that Obamacare — aka Patient Protection Affordable Care Act — imposes a 2.3 percent tax on some medical devices. It went into effect Jan. 1.
It’s also true that Cabela’s charged the tax to some customers for clearly nonmedical items.
But that’s where this concern and reality part company.
Cabela’s spokesman Joe Arterburn told the Omaha World-Herald that the charges were “a glitch in the system” that were caught the same day (Jan. 1) and corrected, with customers getting automatically refunded on their credit or debit cards.
The World-Herald report said, “Images of Cabela’s sales receipts showing the surcharge have appeared on various websites prompting several rumors. One rumor alleged that retailers had begun passing their employees’ insurance coverage costs onto consumers in the form of a medical excise tax. Other sites claimed that because the tax had been applied to shoes and shirts that clothing and footwear are now considered medical devices under the new law. Both speculations are false.”
The new health care law taxes manufacturers, producers and importers of medical devices and says that the tax can be passed along to consumers if it’s listed on the receipt.
Although the Cabela’s spokesman couldn’t explain the error, the urban-legend investigation site Snopes says what likely happened is that some cash register vendors improperly programmed software to apply to all purchases instead of qualifying medical devices — and that the errors were believed reported only in Texas and only on Jan. 1.
Exemptions to the tax include any “medical device determined to be of a type that is generally purchased by the general public at retail for individual use” such as eyeglasses, contact lenses and hearing aids.
3:59 pm, Mar 9, 2013 | Written by Mark Robison