Imagine entering your doctor’s office and during your visit he looks at you and says, “Before you go, I’m required by the Federal government to ask you what kind of guns you own and how many.” Would you think that was completely inappropriate and completely none of his business? Well, as part of Barack Obama’s sweeping 23 executive actions and orders that he signed today in an attempt to deal with gun violence, number 16 on the list may raise both privacy and legal concerns. It seems the Obama administration wants your doctor to ask about your guns for the express purpose of reporting that information to the Federal government.
According to number 16 on the list of directives:
Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
What? You mean you didn’t know there was a form of gun legislation contained in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)? Well, there is. In fact, you can educate yourself a bit by reading this article on it.
A fact sheet provided by the White House elaborates on this particular executive action: “Clarify that no federal law prevents health care providers from warning law enforcement authorities about threats of violence.”
The fact sheet continues, “Doctors and other mental health professionals play an important role in protecting the safety of their patients and the broader community by reporting direct and credible threats of violence to the authorities. But there is public confusion about whether federal law prohibits such reports about threats of violence. The Department of Health and Human Services is issuing a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits these reports in any way.
“Doctors and other health care providers also need to be able to ask about firearms in their patients’ homes,” the fact sheet continues, “and safe storage of those firearms, especially if their patients show signs of certain mental illnesses or if they have a young child or mentally ill family member at home. Some have incorrectly claimed that language in the Affordable Care Act prohibits doctors from asking their patients about guns and gun safety. Medical groups also continue to fight against state laws attempting to ban doctors from asking these questions.”
“The Administration will issue guidance clarifying that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit or otherwise regulate communication between doctors and patients, including about firearms,” reads the fact sheet.
Well, it appears that not only did Barack Obama and the Democrats not know what was in Obamacare when they passed it, but now that it has been out for quite a while they don’t seem to know what it says. The portion of the tyrannical health care law in question reads:
‘‘(c) PROTECTION OF SECOND AMENDMENT GUN RIGHTS.—[As added by section 10101(e)(2)]
‘‘(1) WELLNESS AND PREVENTION PROGRAMS.—A wellness and health promotion activity implemented under subsection (a)(1)(D) may not require the disclosure or collection of any information relating to—
‘‘(A) the presence or storage of a lawfully-possessed firearm or ammunition in the residence or on the property of an individual; or
‘‘(B) the lawful use, possession, or storage of a firearm or ammunition by an individual.
‘‘(2) LIMITATION ON DATA COLLECTION.—None of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act shall be construed to authorize or may be used for the collection of any information relating to—
‘‘(A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition;
‘‘(B) the lawful use of a firearm or ammunition; or
‘‘(C) the lawful storage of a firearm or ammunition.
‘‘(3) LIMITATION ON DATABASES OR DATA BANKS.—None of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act shall be construed to authorize or may be used to maintain records of individual ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition.
‘‘(4) LIMITATION ON DETERMINATION OF PREMIUM RATES OR ELIGIBILITY FOR HEALTH INSURANCE.—A premium rate may not be increased, health insurance coverage may not be denied, and a discount, rebate, or reward offered for participation in a wellness program may not be reduced or withheld under any health benefit plan issued pursuant to or in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act on the basis of, or on reliance upon—
‘‘(A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition; or
‘‘(B) the lawful use or storage of a firearm or ammunition.
‘‘(5) LIMITATION ON DATA COLLECTION REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALS.—No individual shall be required to disclose any information under any data collection activity authorized under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act relating to—
‘‘(A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition; or
‘‘(B) the lawful use, possession, or storage of a firearm or ammunition.
‘‘(d) REGULATIONS.—Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Secretary shall promulgate regulations that provide criteria for determining whether a reimbursement structure is described in subsection (a).
‘‘(e) STUDY AND REPORT.—Not later than 180 days after the date on which regulations are promulgated under subsection (c), the Government Accountability Office shall review such regulations and conduct a study and submit to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives a report regarding the impact the activities under this section have had on the quality and cost of health care.
I would imagine that the Obama administration will try and tell us that not one word of this applies to doctors, but only to government employees. This is how I can see them attempting to get around this.
It was the National Rifle Association that sought to have this provision put into the bill via Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. NRA officials say they requested the provision out of concern that insurance companies could use such data to raise premiums on gun owners. The measure’s supporters in the Senate say they did not intend to interfere with the work of doctors or researchers.
A federal judge in July issued a permanent injunction against enforcement of a Florida law that would have prohibited doctors from asking patients about gun ownership in many instances, saying the prohibition impinged on doctors’ First Amendment right to speak with their patients about gun safety.
The law would have allowed physicians to ask about guns if it seemed relevant to a patient’s medical care or safety — for example, if a patient was severely depressed or experiencing violence in the home.
Six other states — Alabama, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia — have considered similar legislation in recent years.
According to Kaiser Health News, the 2010 healthcare reform bill doesn’t prevent doctors from asking about guns, but it does prohibit insurers, employers, and the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services from asking about gun ownership in many instances, and it prohibits HHS from collecting such data.
Did you catch that? Obamacare keeps everyone except doctors from reporting this. You can rest assure the Obama administration will seek to “close the loophole” on that quickly and demand that doctors ask about your firearms and report that information to the Federal government, once they “determine” they can. As far as I’m concerned you can tell your doctor to jump in the lake if he asks you about your firearms. It’s none of his or the administration’s business.