Obamacare supports gun rights

So will the NRA rally support for Obamacare?

The words were tucked deep into the sprawling text of President Obama’s signature health-care overhaul. Under the headline “Protection of Second Amendment Gun Rights” was a brief provision restricting the ability of doctors to gather data about their patients’ gun use — a largely overlooked but significant challenge to a movement in American medicine to treat firearms as a matter of public health.

The language, pushed by the National Rifle Association in the final weeks of the 2010 debate over health care and discovered only in recent days by some lawmakers and medical groups, is drawing criticism in the wake of this month’s schoolhouse massacre of 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Conn. Some public health advocates, worried that the measure will hinder research and medical care, are calling on the White House to amend the language as it prepares to launch a gun-control initiative in January.

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.

via NRA fingerprints in landmark health-care law – The Washington Post.

For me, the telling part of this story is “discovered only in recent days.”  Has NOBODY read the 124-page  bill all the way through?  What else might be in there?  (If you want to give it a go at reading the thing, here is the bill.)

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Tom Hering

    No one keeps daily statistics for gunshot injuries and killings in the U.S. Not even the FBI – though Slate is trying: 387 gun deaths since the Newtown shootings 13 days ago, with probably three to four times that number surviving gunshot wounds. So the NRA is just being realistic – we can’t maintain a profitable health care system without lots of penetrating injury victims, so we can’t maintain a viable health care system without lots of guns.

  • Tom Hering

    No one keeps daily statistics for gunshot injuries and killings in the U.S. Not even the FBI – though Slate is trying: 387 gun deaths since the Newtown shootings 13 days ago, with probably three to four times that number surviving gunshot wounds. So the NRA is just being realistic – we can’t maintain a profitable health care system without lots of penetrating injury victims, so we can’t maintain a viable health care system without lots of guns.

  • Tom Hering

    Oops, that should read 19 days ago, not 13.

  • Tom Hering

    Oops, that should read 19 days ago, not 13.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    What business is it of the Federal Gov’t to care whther your doctor discusses gun ownership with you? How would doing so threaten 2nd amendment rights?

    Or is this a tacit admission that doctors are now agents of the government?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    What business is it of the Federal Gov’t to care whther your doctor discusses gun ownership with you? How would doing so threaten 2nd amendment rights?

    Or is this a tacit admission that doctors are now agents of the government?

  • Momof3inTenn

    My question is what business is it of the doctor to ask whether or not you have a gun. My pediatrician’s office has a form I fill out once a year on my children’s overall health. One of the questions is whether or not there is a gun in the home. I’ve always wanted to answer, “None of your business,” but I have refrained. Knowing that the pediatrician has the power to call in the gov’t to have my children taken away has always kept my belligerence in check…

  • Momof3inTenn

    My question is what business is it of the doctor to ask whether or not you have a gun. My pediatrician’s office has a form I fill out once a year on my children’s overall health. One of the questions is whether or not there is a gun in the home. I’ve always wanted to answer, “None of your business,” but I have refrained. Knowing that the pediatrician has the power to call in the gov’t to have my children taken away has always kept my belligerence in check…

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I think I left the question blank on our doctor’s form. I didn’t think it was any of their business.

    I never understood the point in asking the question. Having a gun does not affect their ability to treat and except for acute cases of traumatic lead poisoning does not effect over all health and let’s face it acute cases of traumatic lead poisoning are easy to diagnosis.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I think I left the question blank on our doctor’s form. I didn’t think it was any of their business.

    I never understood the point in asking the question. Having a gun does not affect their ability to treat and except for acute cases of traumatic lead poisoning does not effect over all health and let’s face it acute cases of traumatic lead poisoning are easy to diagnosis.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Knowing that the pediatrician has the power to call in the gov’t to have my children taken away has always kept my belligerence in check…

    Let’s see, if your pediatrician did decide to turn you in and the gov’t did find a way to take your kids, but you were a bit unwilling, would the gov’t agent who comes for the kid be carrying a firearm?

    Anyway, why are doctors and others in healthcare so dang impudent? I mean, yeah, personal health questions are necessarily personal, but that doesn’t entitle the doctor to ask all manner of other personal questions not related to health.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Knowing that the pediatrician has the power to call in the gov’t to have my children taken away has always kept my belligerence in check…

    Let’s see, if your pediatrician did decide to turn you in and the gov’t did find a way to take your kids, but you were a bit unwilling, would the gov’t agent who comes for the kid be carrying a firearm?

    Anyway, why are doctors and others in healthcare so dang impudent? I mean, yeah, personal health questions are necessarily personal, but that doesn’t entitle the doctor to ask all manner of other personal questions not related to health.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Right, SG. Guns in the house is not a health issue.

    A safety issue perhaps, but not a health issue. None of the doctor’s business, really.

    But the doctor’s business is also none of the federal government’s business.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Right, SG. Guns in the house is not a health issue.

    A safety issue perhaps, but not a health issue. None of the doctor’s business, really.

    But the doctor’s business is also none of the federal government’s business.

  • Med Student

    Asking whether there’s a gun in the home is considered a preventative health measure, like asking if you use seat belts or have had a colonoscopy recently. If the answer is yes, the idea is to remind the patient that the NRA recommends keeping guns locked up and unloaded in the house, especially if there are children around. It’s also relevant if there is a suspicion of domestic violence. If you don’t want to answer the question, find, but don’t get offended either.

  • Med Student

    Asking whether there’s a gun in the home is considered a preventative health measure, like asking if you use seat belts or have had a colonoscopy recently. If the answer is yes, the idea is to remind the patient that the NRA recommends keeping guns locked up and unloaded in the house, especially if there are children around. It’s also relevant if there is a suspicion of domestic violence. If you don’t want to answer the question, find, but don’t get offended either.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    #8 Sorry not buying the preventative health measure. Getting a check up is preventative health, finding out if I own a gun is just nosy and unnecessary.

    What offends me is being treated like a 2 year old when I see the doctor and getting lectured on gun safety and wearing seatbelts is just one more example of such treatment. I have forgotten more about medicine than most doc’s know about gun safety anyways, so their lectures are pretty pointless.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    #8 Sorry not buying the preventative health measure. Getting a check up is preventative health, finding out if I own a gun is just nosy and unnecessary.

    What offends me is being treated like a 2 year old when I see the doctor and getting lectured on gun safety and wearing seatbelts is just one more example of such treatment. I have forgotten more about medicine than most doc’s know about gun safety anyways, so their lectures are pretty pointless.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Neither guns nor seat belts are health issues, and are not the proper concern of health care providers.

    “Cobbler, stick to thy last.”

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Neither guns nor seat belts are health issues, and are not the proper concern of health care providers.

    “Cobbler, stick to thy last.”

  • Med Student

    @10
    Do you object to your doctor reminding you to wear sunscreen to0? Trauma is a health issue just as much as disease is, so reminding patients to take simple measures to prevent unnecessary trauma is well within a primary care doctor’s purview. Again, if you don’t want to answer the question, fine, but don’t pretend that lifestyle isn’t at all related to health. (For the record, I’ve never actually asked anyone about owing a gun or wearing a seat belt, mostly because health history interviews are long enough as it is.)

  • Med Student

    @10
    Do you object to your doctor reminding you to wear sunscreen to0? Trauma is a health issue just as much as disease is, so reminding patients to take simple measures to prevent unnecessary trauma is well within a primary care doctor’s purview. Again, if you don’t want to answer the question, fine, but don’t pretend that lifestyle isn’t at all related to health. (For the record, I’ve never actually asked anyone about owing a gun or wearing a seat belt, mostly because health history interviews are long enough as it is.)

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Certain aspects of “lifestyle” are related to health, sure. Like whether I put on sunscreen for example. Or what kind of junk food I’m addicted to. Or whether I smoke.

    But I’m not buying that gun ownership in and of itself is a health care issue for doctors to be concerned about.

    Is the doctor overly concerned about me driving a car to get to his office? I might get into a car accident, and that would probably have health care consequences.

    Is the doctor overly concerned that I take walks around the neighborhood? I might get stabbed in the back by a mugger. That would have health care consequences too.

    Sure, if I do something stupid with a gun, it might have health care consequences.

    But does the doctor ask whether I have a pressure cooker in my house? It’s possible I might do something stupid with that too, and that it would have health care consequences.

    But still, I’m not in favor of a federal ban on doctors asking about gun ownership. Let that question be between the doctor and patient.

    I would be in favor of preventing doctors from reporting patients’ gun ownership to authorities though (except when relevant to a criminal investigation, maybe), which is what should have been put into the bill instead of a ban on asking the question.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Certain aspects of “lifestyle” are related to health, sure. Like whether I put on sunscreen for example. Or what kind of junk food I’m addicted to. Or whether I smoke.

    But I’m not buying that gun ownership in and of itself is a health care issue for doctors to be concerned about.

    Is the doctor overly concerned about me driving a car to get to his office? I might get into a car accident, and that would probably have health care consequences.

    Is the doctor overly concerned that I take walks around the neighborhood? I might get stabbed in the back by a mugger. That would have health care consequences too.

    Sure, if I do something stupid with a gun, it might have health care consequences.

    But does the doctor ask whether I have a pressure cooker in my house? It’s possible I might do something stupid with that too, and that it would have health care consequences.

    But still, I’m not in favor of a federal ban on doctors asking about gun ownership. Let that question be between the doctor and patient.

    I would be in favor of preventing doctors from reporting patients’ gun ownership to authorities though (except when relevant to a criminal investigation, maybe), which is what should have been put into the bill instead of a ban on asking the question.

  • Med Student

    @12
    As far as I know there is no requirement to report gun ownership. It’s considered protected health information. I also believe it’s more relevant to ask about guns if there’s a child in the house, much as you might ask if there are outlet protectors and if furniture is bolted to the wall to prevent a kid from pulling it down on themselves, just to make sure parents are aware of potential dangers (there was a week last year where at least 2 kids in Chicago, possibly more, were killed by falling TVs). I agree it should be a doctor-patient thing, no government involved either way. (The NRA actually got a law passed in FL that forbids pediatricians from even asking if there are guns in the home.) I’m not sure it will ever be that important to me whether my patients own guns. It’s definitely a physician preference thing, like asking about seat belts or bike helmets.

  • Med Student

    @12
    As far as I know there is no requirement to report gun ownership. It’s considered protected health information. I also believe it’s more relevant to ask about guns if there’s a child in the house, much as you might ask if there are outlet protectors and if furniture is bolted to the wall to prevent a kid from pulling it down on themselves, just to make sure parents are aware of potential dangers (there was a week last year where at least 2 kids in Chicago, possibly more, were killed by falling TVs). I agree it should be a doctor-patient thing, no government involved either way. (The NRA actually got a law passed in FL that forbids pediatricians from even asking if there are guns in the home.) I’m not sure it will ever be that important to me whether my patients own guns. It’s definitely a physician preference thing, like asking about seat belts or bike helmets.

  • fjsteve

    I’ve never actually had to answer this question but I wouldn’t personally be opposed to it (especially is I was being prescribed antipsychotics or antidepressants). Second Amendment notwithstanding, gun violence is a public health issue and we need to come to grips with that fact. I doubt whether, in most cases, we’re going to tell the doctor something the government doesn’t already know or at least have easy access to knowing through other means anyway, so I’m not sure how it’s a second amendment issue. Perhaps someone could enlighten me on that.

  • fjsteve

    I’ve never actually had to answer this question but I wouldn’t personally be opposed to it (especially is I was being prescribed antipsychotics or antidepressants). Second Amendment notwithstanding, gun violence is a public health issue and we need to come to grips with that fact. I doubt whether, in most cases, we’re going to tell the doctor something the government doesn’t already know or at least have easy access to knowing through other means anyway, so I’m not sure how it’s a second amendment issue. Perhaps someone could enlighten me on that.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    What’s often ignored in shooting stats is that those stats often include the following:

    1.) Police officers shooting bad guys
    2.) Armed civilians shooting bad guys (Case in point: Sacramento had this happen just after Connecticut)
    3.) Bad guys shooting police officers with their own gun (Statistically speaking, half of all police officers shot are shot with their own gun)

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    What’s often ignored in shooting stats is that those stats often include the following:

    1.) Police officers shooting bad guys
    2.) Armed civilians shooting bad guys (Case in point: Sacramento had this happen just after Connecticut)
    3.) Bad guys shooting police officers with their own gun (Statistically speaking, half of all police officers shot are shot with their own gun)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Just another example of how many right-wingers are just as much in favor of government intrusion as the left-wingers they decry.

    In this case, you have the NRA, afraid of government intrusion into the area of firearms, lobbying for legislation that would needlessly insert government oversight into the area of health care — specifically, what doctors can ask their patients.

    I’m sure that sort of government power — preventing professionals from saying certain things to their clients for political reasons — will never be abused.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Just another example of how many right-wingers are just as much in favor of government intrusion as the left-wingers they decry.

    In this case, you have the NRA, afraid of government intrusion into the area of firearms, lobbying for legislation that would needlessly insert government oversight into the area of health care — specifically, what doctors can ask their patients.

    I’m sure that sort of government power — preventing professionals from saying certain things to their clients for political reasons — will never be abused.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @16

    People are not lobbying for gov’t intrusion because they resist being required by the gov’t to tell their doctor whether they have a gun. By that definition the Bill of Rights would be gov’t intrusion because it prohibits gov’t from involving itself in areas where people should have liberty.

    I was thinking recently about the 2nd amendment language.

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    I think we all agree that common usage evolves over time. So, what did “well regulated Militia” mean when it was written?

    Does “well regulated militia” just mean armed citizens well trained in the use of firearms? Firearms in 1789 were not easy to use. Okay, nowadays is it desirable for folks to be able to use firearms to defend themselves in order to be considered free? Are unarmed citizens less free than armed citizens? What did “security of a free state” refer to when it was written? I can see a case for either personal and community safety as well as the idea that it could refer to state organized military service against whatever foreign attack etc. If “security of a free state” means every man a deputy, then it seems to be charging citizens with some responsibility for their own security. Back then they really could not call the cops. There were no phones. So, practically cops went out and got the ones who got away, sometimes with the aid of some citizen posse. If the citizens of the village had no guns and couldn’t use them if they did, then the sheriff couldn’t very well put together a posse of villagers to pursue the fugitive.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @16

    People are not lobbying for gov’t intrusion because they resist being required by the gov’t to tell their doctor whether they have a gun. By that definition the Bill of Rights would be gov’t intrusion because it prohibits gov’t from involving itself in areas where people should have liberty.

    I was thinking recently about the 2nd amendment language.

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    I think we all agree that common usage evolves over time. So, what did “well regulated Militia” mean when it was written?

    Does “well regulated militia” just mean armed citizens well trained in the use of firearms? Firearms in 1789 were not easy to use. Okay, nowadays is it desirable for folks to be able to use firearms to defend themselves in order to be considered free? Are unarmed citizens less free than armed citizens? What did “security of a free state” refer to when it was written? I can see a case for either personal and community safety as well as the idea that it could refer to state organized military service against whatever foreign attack etc. If “security of a free state” means every man a deputy, then it seems to be charging citizens with some responsibility for their own security. Back then they really could not call the cops. There were no phones. So, practically cops went out and got the ones who got away, sometimes with the aid of some citizen posse. If the citizens of the village had no guns and couldn’t use them if they did, then the sheriff couldn’t very well put together a posse of villagers to pursue the fugitive.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I guess I am the independent sort. I don’t really see doctors as having much to do with health, rather with medicine. Healthy living seems beyond the scope of medicine. Doctors are to fix actual problems, prevent them, not so much. That is the individual’s responsibility.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I guess I am the independent sort. I don’t really see doctors as having much to do with health, rather with medicine. Healthy living seems beyond the scope of medicine. Doctors are to fix actual problems, prevent them, not so much. That is the individual’s responsibility.

  • fjsteve

    sg, I get the spirit of what you’re saying but don’t you believe in preventative medicine? Personal responsibility is great but there’s absolutely no reasonable way a person can keep up on all of the advances in preventative medicine let alone be able to discern whether a particular test, drugs, supplement, etc is appropriate for them.

  • fjsteve

    sg, I get the spirit of what you’re saying but don’t you believe in preventative medicine? Personal responsibility is great but there’s absolutely no reasonable way a person can keep up on all of the advances in preventative medicine let alone be able to discern whether a particular test, drugs, supplement, etc is appropriate for them.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG said (@17):

    People are not lobbying for gov’t intrusion because they resist being required by the gov’t to tell their doctor whether they have a gun.

    This seemed at odds with the description from the Post (“a brief provision restricting the ability of doctors to gather data about their patients’ gun use”), so I followed Veith’s link to the actual text of the law.

    (c) Protection of Second Amendment Gun Rights.–
    (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.

    And subsection (a)(1)(D) says:

    (1) In general.–Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Secretary, in consultation with experts in health care quality and stakeholders, shall develop reporting requirements for use by a group health plan, and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage, with respect to plan or coverage benefits and health care provider reimbursement structures that– …
    (D) implement wellness and health promotion activities.

    So I disagree with you, SG. The Secretary is to develop reporting requirements for group health plans on how that plan’s coverage benefits “implement wellness and health promotion activities”. But that plan — conceived and implemented by a private corporation — basically cannot have anything to do with guns.

    That is to say, this isn’t the issue of opposing the government’s collecting requiring firearm information. This is an issue of using the government to insure that health insurance companies (vis-a-vis medical providers) do not collect such information.

    I stand by my claim.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG said (@17):

    People are not lobbying for gov’t intrusion because they resist being required by the gov’t to tell their doctor whether they have a gun.

    This seemed at odds with the description from the Post (“a brief provision restricting the ability of doctors to gather data about their patients’ gun use”), so I followed Veith’s link to the actual text of the law.

    (c) Protection of Second Amendment Gun Rights.–
    (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.

    And subsection (a)(1)(D) says:

    (1) In general.–Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Secretary, in consultation with experts in health care quality and stakeholders, shall develop reporting requirements for use by a group health plan, and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage, with respect to plan or coverage benefits and health care provider reimbursement structures that– …
    (D) implement wellness and health promotion activities.

    So I disagree with you, SG. The Secretary is to develop reporting requirements for group health plans on how that plan’s coverage benefits “implement wellness and health promotion activities”. But that plan — conceived and implemented by a private corporation — basically cannot have anything to do with guns.

    That is to say, this isn’t the issue of opposing the government’s collecting requiring firearm information. This is an issue of using the government to insure that health insurance companies (vis-a-vis medical providers) do not collect such information.

    I stand by my claim.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And if that doesn’t convince you, there’s also the situation that Med Student referred to (@13), which this Time article discusses, that “prohibit[ed] doctors from asking their patients about gun safety in the home.”

    A judge temporarily blocked that law in late 2011, thankfully, owing to its obvious curtailment of freedom of speech.

    It would seem that the NRA doesn’t really much care about the First Amendment.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And if that doesn’t convince you, there’s also the situation that Med Student referred to (@13), which this Time article discusses, that “prohibit[ed] doctors from asking their patients about gun safety in the home.”

    A judge temporarily blocked that law in late 2011, thankfully, owing to its obvious curtailment of freedom of speech.

    It would seem that the NRA doesn’t really much care about the First Amendment.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    It would seem that the NRA doesn’t really much care about the First Amendment.

    Whose first amendment rights are you referring to? An insurance company’s? Because the federal gov’t doesn’t need first amendment protections.

    Are you saying that the government/insurance has the first amendment right to violate citizens’ right to privacy because of the company’s/government’s free speech rights?

    I don’t really see the sense in that.

    The NRA perhaps should have made its argument based on a right to privacy/illegal search, but still.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    It would seem that the NRA doesn’t really much care about the First Amendment.

    Whose first amendment rights are you referring to? An insurance company’s? Because the federal gov’t doesn’t need first amendment protections.

    Are you saying that the government/insurance has the first amendment right to violate citizens’ right to privacy because of the company’s/government’s free speech rights?

    I don’t really see the sense in that.

    The NRA perhaps should have made its argument based on a right to privacy/illegal search, but still.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    sg, I get the spirit of what you’re saying but don’t you believe in preventative medicine?

    I just think it is a little overrated and its case overstated. My experience with it is that it is a bit of a joke. My experience probably just biases my opinion, but I have also read that the costs outweigh benefits. Okay, a physical every five years is probably reasonable. More if you have a riskier lifestyle, etc. If people want to do it, fine. It’s a free country.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    sg, I get the spirit of what you’re saying but don’t you believe in preventative medicine?

    I just think it is a little overrated and its case overstated. My experience with it is that it is a bit of a joke. My experience probably just biases my opinion, but I have also read that the costs outweigh benefits. Okay, a physical every five years is probably reasonable. More if you have a riskier lifestyle, etc. If people want to do it, fine. It’s a free country.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG asked (@22),

    Whose first amendment rights are you referring to? An insurance company’s?

    No. The Time article I linked to made it pretty clear that it was the doctors whose freedom of speech was being impinged on by the NRA-backed law. Did you read it?

    Are you saying that the government/insurance has the first amendment right to violate citizens’ right to privacy because of the company’s/government’s free speech rights?

    E for effort, SG, but come on. I’ll ignore the irony of your arguing in favor of a “right to privacy” in a medical context (you might remember that same right being invoked in a different context, probably to your dismay) and just point out that a private insurance company’s program to encourage doctors to ask about guns in the home in no way “violates citizens’ right to privacy”.

    Again, read the Time article. Read the section of the Obamacare bill I quoted. There is no government-mandated information collection here. That’s a straw man.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG asked (@22),

    Whose first amendment rights are you referring to? An insurance company’s?

    No. The Time article I linked to made it pretty clear that it was the doctors whose freedom of speech was being impinged on by the NRA-backed law. Did you read it?

    Are you saying that the government/insurance has the first amendment right to violate citizens’ right to privacy because of the company’s/government’s free speech rights?

    E for effort, SG, but come on. I’ll ignore the irony of your arguing in favor of a “right to privacy” in a medical context (you might remember that same right being invoked in a different context, probably to your dismay) and just point out that a private insurance company’s program to encourage doctors to ask about guns in the home in no way “violates citizens’ right to privacy”.

    Again, read the Time article. Read the section of the Obamacare bill I quoted. There is no government-mandated information collection here. That’s a straw man.

  • DonS

    The Florida law referenced by tODD seems clearly to overstep the bounds of Constitutional protections, in a way similar to that of the law recently passed in California prohibiting psychologists and other professionals from from engaging in gay conversion therapy. These professionals have a First Amendment right to practice in accordance with their training and judgment and cannot be muzzled by government in the way these respective laws seek to do.

    On the other hand, the Obamacare provision seems only to clarify that the law in no way authorizes professionals and insurance companies to collect and report this data. It does not prohibit either professionals or insurance companies from separately asking for and retaining this information, from what I could see in a brief perusal. So I don’t think there is a First Amendment issue.

    The real problem is are mandated reporting requirements imposed on many professionals, requiring them to report, regardless of their own professional judgment, any suspicious circumstances they uncover, particularly regarding children. I think the NRA is trying to avoid gun ownership from being included in these mandated reporting laws, for what should be very obvious reasons. They don’t want gun ownership to become stigmatized, or to subject gun owners to scrutiny by authorities just because they happen to own a gun.

  • DonS

    The Florida law referenced by tODD seems clearly to overstep the bounds of Constitutional protections, in a way similar to that of the law recently passed in California prohibiting psychologists and other professionals from from engaging in gay conversion therapy. These professionals have a First Amendment right to practice in accordance with their training and judgment and cannot be muzzled by government in the way these respective laws seek to do.

    On the other hand, the Obamacare provision seems only to clarify that the law in no way authorizes professionals and insurance companies to collect and report this data. It does not prohibit either professionals or insurance companies from separately asking for and retaining this information, from what I could see in a brief perusal. So I don’t think there is a First Amendment issue.

    The real problem is are mandated reporting requirements imposed on many professionals, requiring them to report, regardless of their own professional judgment, any suspicious circumstances they uncover, particularly regarding children. I think the NRA is trying to avoid gun ownership from being included in these mandated reporting laws, for what should be very obvious reasons. They don’t want gun ownership to become stigmatized, or to subject gun owners to scrutiny by authorities just because they happen to own a gun.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    a “right to privacy” in a medical context (you might remember that same right being invoked in a different context, probably to your dismay)

    I don’t see the parallel.

    People wanting to be sure they don’t have to give unrelated info just to comply with some insurance policy provision dictated by gov’t bureaucratic edict doesn’t seem to be the same as the state’s interest in protecting people from murder or punishing perpetrators. That seems pretty apples to oranges. Citizens shouldn’t have to tell about their guns just to get check ups for their kids. However, the state should be able to legislate penalties for various types of murder. So, no, the right to privacy should not include the right to murder.

    I still object to the health angle. Health and medicine are not synonymous.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    a “right to privacy” in a medical context (you might remember that same right being invoked in a different context, probably to your dismay)

    I don’t see the parallel.

    People wanting to be sure they don’t have to give unrelated info just to comply with some insurance policy provision dictated by gov’t bureaucratic edict doesn’t seem to be the same as the state’s interest in protecting people from murder or punishing perpetrators. That seems pretty apples to oranges. Citizens shouldn’t have to tell about their guns just to get check ups for their kids. However, the state should be able to legislate penalties for various types of murder. So, no, the right to privacy should not include the right to murder.

    I still object to the health angle. Health and medicine are not synonymous.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    No. The Time article I linked to made it pretty clear that it was the doctors whose freedom of speech was being impinged on by the NRA-backed law.

    Doctors would be denied the “freedom” to collect info on patients’ guns as required by some health insurance regulatory agency.

    Seriously?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    No. The Time article I linked to made it pretty clear that it was the doctors whose freedom of speech was being impinged on by the NRA-backed law.

    Doctors would be denied the “freedom” to collect info on patients’ guns as required by some health insurance regulatory agency.

    Seriously?

  • Med Student

    SG, you honestly don’t see medicine as being about preventing disease as well as treating it? What are vaccines but preventive medicine helping us maintain our health? You might argue about how far such measures should go, but prevention of disease is a very important aspect of medicine. I’d much rather help a patient quit smoking than have to treat their emphysema or heart disease down the road, even if currently healthy; or give a flu shot instead of treating the flu. Medicine is fundamentally about preserving health, whether by treating illness or preventing it in the first place.

  • Med Student

    SG, you honestly don’t see medicine as being about preventing disease as well as treating it? What are vaccines but preventive medicine helping us maintain our health? You might argue about how far such measures should go, but prevention of disease is a very important aspect of medicine. I’d much rather help a patient quit smoking than have to treat their emphysema or heart disease down the road, even if currently healthy; or give a flu shot instead of treating the flu. Medicine is fundamentally about preserving health, whether by treating illness or preventing it in the first place.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    All that stuff is common knowledge available everywhere from public k12 ed to magazines internet, etc. I mean who doesn’t know they shouldn’t smoke or that they should get their shots? I am not against health education, but you don’t need a doctor for most healthy living stuff. Healthy eating and other preventive measures are learned in childhood. You need a doctor when you are sick. Doctors deal with problems. Doing check ups for healthy happy attractive people is likely more pleasant than dealing with sick grumpy or injured scared people. The well have no need of a physician. So, I just think the doctor’s role in prevention is just overstated, not zero. When I had meningitis, the doctors, nurses and hospital were rockin’ awesome. The rest of the time, I just hate going. It all seems so pointless. I don’t think public policy needs to reflect my opinion, but it seems that some policy makers do think there may be some over utilization by people who are really low risk.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    All that stuff is common knowledge available everywhere from public k12 ed to magazines internet, etc. I mean who doesn’t know they shouldn’t smoke or that they should get their shots? I am not against health education, but you don’t need a doctor for most healthy living stuff. Healthy eating and other preventive measures are learned in childhood. You need a doctor when you are sick. Doctors deal with problems. Doing check ups for healthy happy attractive people is likely more pleasant than dealing with sick grumpy or injured scared people. The well have no need of a physician. So, I just think the doctor’s role in prevention is just overstated, not zero. When I had meningitis, the doctors, nurses and hospital were rockin’ awesome. The rest of the time, I just hate going. It all seems so pointless. I don’t think public policy needs to reflect my opinion, but it seems that some policy makers do think there may be some over utilization by people who are really low risk.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    DonS (@25), I’m not well versed in reading laws, so it’s possible you’re right, but, again, that’s not how it appears to me.

    The law appears to say that any “wellness and health promotion activity” implemented or promoted by a “group health plan” or “health insurance issuer” is prohibited from “requir[ing] the disclosure or collection of any information relating to” firearms — from section (c)(1).

    I agree that sections (c)(2) through (c)(5) “seem only to clarify that the law in no way authorizes professionals and insurance companies to collect and report this data”. But I’m not sure that section (c)(1) “does not prohibit either professionals or insurance companies from separately asking for and retaining this information”.

    I do think it’s pretty hilarious that the NRA managed to prescribe that health insurance premiums, coverage, discounts, rebates, or rewards can in no way be affected by gun ownership under the PPACA. Too bad the tobacco lobbyists didn’t think of a similar approach.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    DonS (@25), I’m not well versed in reading laws, so it’s possible you’re right, but, again, that’s not how it appears to me.

    The law appears to say that any “wellness and health promotion activity” implemented or promoted by a “group health plan” or “health insurance issuer” is prohibited from “requir[ing] the disclosure or collection of any information relating to” firearms — from section (c)(1).

    I agree that sections (c)(2) through (c)(5) “seem only to clarify that the law in no way authorizes professionals and insurance companies to collect and report this data”. But I’m not sure that section (c)(1) “does not prohibit either professionals or insurance companies from separately asking for and retaining this information”.

    I do think it’s pretty hilarious that the NRA managed to prescribe that health insurance premiums, coverage, discounts, rebates, or rewards can in no way be affected by gun ownership under the PPACA. Too bad the tobacco lobbyists didn’t think of a similar approach.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    SG said (@26, my emphasis):

    People wanting to be sure they don’t have to give unrelated info just to comply with some insurance policy provision dictated by gov’t bureaucratic edict

    And (@27):

    Doctors would be denied the “freedom” to collect info on patients’ guns as required by some health insurance regulatory agency.

    I don’t know why, SG, but you seem intent on pursuing this straw man angle in which this reporting is somehow mandated by law or regulation. I’ve already pointed out to you that this is not so, yet you persist. It seems to me you’re not interested in having a discussion based on the facts, so I’m done here.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    SG said (@26, my emphasis):

    People wanting to be sure they don’t have to give unrelated info just to comply with some insurance policy provision dictated by gov’t bureaucratic edict

    And (@27):

    Doctors would be denied the “freedom” to collect info on patients’ guns as required by some health insurance regulatory agency.

    I don’t know why, SG, but you seem intent on pursuing this straw man angle in which this reporting is somehow mandated by law or regulation. I’ve already pointed out to you that this is not so, yet you persist. It seems to me you’re not interested in having a discussion based on the facts, so I’m done here.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 30: But the language you quote says essentially what I said above @ 25. Here’s the paragraph from your comment including the Section (c)(1) language:

    The law appears to say that any “wellness and health promotion activity” implemented or promoted by a “group health plan” or “health insurance issuer” is prohibited from “requir[ing] the disclosure or collection of any information relating to” firearms — from section (c)(1).

    I bolded the pertinent language. Any wellness and health promotion activity implemented or promoted under this law is prohibited from require the disclosure or collection of any information relating to firearms. This is not the same as saying that professionals, on their own, cannot disclose or collect this information. So, unlike the Florida law, and the California law related to conversion therapy, the government is not stepping in and telling professionals they cannot do something, regardless of their professional judgment. That’s the difference.

    I do think it’s pretty hilarious that the NRA managed to prescribe that health insurance premiums, coverage, discounts, rebates, or rewards can in no way be affected by gun ownership under the PPACA. Too bad the tobacco lobbyists didn’t think of a similar approach.

    It helps to have a Constitutional right on your side.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 30: But the language you quote says essentially what I said above @ 25. Here’s the paragraph from your comment including the Section (c)(1) language:

    The law appears to say that any “wellness and health promotion activity” implemented or promoted by a “group health plan” or “health insurance issuer” is prohibited from “requir[ing] the disclosure or collection of any information relating to” firearms — from section (c)(1).

    I bolded the pertinent language. Any wellness and health promotion activity implemented or promoted under this law is prohibited from require the disclosure or collection of any information relating to firearms. This is not the same as saying that professionals, on their own, cannot disclose or collect this information. So, unlike the Florida law, and the California law related to conversion therapy, the government is not stepping in and telling professionals they cannot do something, regardless of their professional judgment. That’s the difference.

    I do think it’s pretty hilarious that the NRA managed to prescribe that health insurance premiums, coverage, discounts, rebates, or rewards can in no way be affected by gun ownership under the PPACA. Too bad the tobacco lobbyists didn’t think of a similar approach.

    It helps to have a Constitutional right on your side.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@32), I continue to disagree. You said:

    Any wellness and health promotion activity implemented or promoted under this law is prohibited from require the disclosure or collection of any information relating to firearms.

    We agree except for the bolded part. The question is whether section (c)(1) limits itself only to insurer activities that are endemic to the PPACA, or whether it applies to all such insurer activities.

    I will again appeal to the text of the law. Subsection (a)(1)(D) says:

    the Secretary … shall develop reporting requirements for use by a group health plan … with respect to plan or coverage benefits and health care provider reimbursement structures that … implement wellness and health promotion activities.

    In other words, the government will ask insurers, “How do you promote health and wellness in particular?”

    So it seems to me that subsection (c)(1) prohibits any such promotions — undertaken by these private insurers of their own volition towards the end of promoting health — from inquiring about firearms. I’m repeating myself here, but that’s where things stand.

    It helps to have a Constitutional right on your side.

    Say what? The Constitutional right is to “bear arms”, not to “be free of the economic implications of actuarial insight”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@32), I continue to disagree. You said:

    Any wellness and health promotion activity implemented or promoted under this law is prohibited from require the disclosure or collection of any information relating to firearms.

    We agree except for the bolded part. The question is whether section (c)(1) limits itself only to insurer activities that are endemic to the PPACA, or whether it applies to all such insurer activities.

    I will again appeal to the text of the law. Subsection (a)(1)(D) says:

    the Secretary … shall develop reporting requirements for use by a group health plan … with respect to plan or coverage benefits and health care provider reimbursement structures that … implement wellness and health promotion activities.

    In other words, the government will ask insurers, “How do you promote health and wellness in particular?”

    So it seems to me that subsection (c)(1) prohibits any such promotions — undertaken by these private insurers of their own volition towards the end of promoting health — from inquiring about firearms. I’m repeating myself here, but that’s where things stand.

    It helps to have a Constitutional right on your side.

    Say what? The Constitutional right is to “bear arms”, not to “be free of the economic implications of actuarial insight”.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 33: With the caveat that I have not read the 124 pages of the law (unfortunately, neither did any of the Congress members who voted for it, I suspect), subsection (c)(1) only refers to “reporting requirements” under the law, as I read it. I don’t see any language in the portion of the bill you quoted which prohibits practitioners from making an inquiry, based on their professional judgment, concerning guns in the home. They just cannot be required to report on anything they might learn, in that regard, under the provisions established by this code section. Nor do I see any language prohibiting insurers from factoring gun ownership into their premium pricing. It might be elsewhere, but it’s not in this section.

    Say what? The Constitutional right is to “bear arms”, not to “be free of the economic implications of actuarial insight”.

    Agreed. I am not suggesting that health insurers should not be permitted to take gun ownership into account when pricing policies. Personally, I don’t favor much of any governmental restriction on how premiums are established. Let the market determine the types of policies, coverages, and pricing that are out there. We would, in the aggregate, pay a lot less for insurance if government, particularly the federal government, butted out of the process. But clearly, there is a lot more concern about government intrusion on an explicit Constitutional right, like gun ownership, than there is on other activities that are not C0nstitutionally protected, like smoking.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 33: With the caveat that I have not read the 124 pages of the law (unfortunately, neither did any of the Congress members who voted for it, I suspect), subsection (c)(1) only refers to “reporting requirements” under the law, as I read it. I don’t see any language in the portion of the bill you quoted which prohibits practitioners from making an inquiry, based on their professional judgment, concerning guns in the home. They just cannot be required to report on anything they might learn, in that regard, under the provisions established by this code section. Nor do I see any language prohibiting insurers from factoring gun ownership into their premium pricing. It might be elsewhere, but it’s not in this section.

    Say what? The Constitutional right is to “bear arms”, not to “be free of the economic implications of actuarial insight”.

    Agreed. I am not suggesting that health insurers should not be permitted to take gun ownership into account when pricing policies. Personally, I don’t favor much of any governmental restriction on how premiums are established. Let the market determine the types of policies, coverages, and pricing that are out there. We would, in the aggregate, pay a lot less for insurance if government, particularly the federal government, butted out of the process. But clearly, there is a lot more concern about government intrusion on an explicit Constitutional right, like gun ownership, than there is on other activities that are not C0nstitutionally protected, like smoking.

  • Joe

    tODD, I think you are conflating the doctor and the insurance company. I don’t see anything here that prevents doctors from talking with their patients about anything including guns. Here is what I see:

    section (c)(1) – a prohibition on insurance companies including gun ownership as a factor in a wellness and health plan created pursuant to section (a)(1)(D). Under the law, insurance companies must create wellness plans and then if insureds follow the plan the law requires the insurance company to lower the insureds premium.

    section (c)(2) – clarification that the act does not allow the Sec. of HHS to collect data on gun ownership

    section (c)(3) – clarification that Sec, of HHS may not retain or maintain any of the data that is it not allowed to collect under section (c)92)

    section (c)(4) – this prohibits an insurance company from charging increased premiums or denying eligibility due to gun ownership.

    Nothing here prevents a doctor from talking with his/her patient about gun ownership. I have free market based issues with the constraints on allowing insurance companies to set their own prices and define the scope of their own products – but that is kind of the entire point of the legislation and I am not surprised that interests groups have yet again found away to use gov’t over regulation of the market to advance their interests.

  • Joe

    tODD, I think you are conflating the doctor and the insurance company. I don’t see anything here that prevents doctors from talking with their patients about anything including guns. Here is what I see:

    section (c)(1) – a prohibition on insurance companies including gun ownership as a factor in a wellness and health plan created pursuant to section (a)(1)(D). Under the law, insurance companies must create wellness plans and then if insureds follow the plan the law requires the insurance company to lower the insureds premium.

    section (c)(2) – clarification that the act does not allow the Sec. of HHS to collect data on gun ownership

    section (c)(3) – clarification that Sec, of HHS may not retain or maintain any of the data that is it not allowed to collect under section (c)92)

    section (c)(4) – this prohibits an insurance company from charging increased premiums or denying eligibility due to gun ownership.

    Nothing here prevents a doctor from talking with his/her patient about gun ownership. I have free market based issues with the constraints on allowing insurance companies to set their own prices and define the scope of their own products – but that is kind of the entire point of the legislation and I am not surprised that interests groups have yet again found away to use gov’t over regulation of the market to advance their interests.

  • Joe

    Med Student – just a heads up, while most people will take their doctors advice. Do go places you don’t need to go. You will find yourself without patients if you pry into matters you ought not worry about.

    Based on what I can find from CDC stats and others who have published in the area there are less that 1,000 unintentional firearm deaths in the US every year. I don’t need my doctor to talk to me about storing my guns safely – and, apparently neither does (almost) anyone else.

  • Joe

    Med Student – just a heads up, while most people will take their doctors advice. Do go places you don’t need to go. You will find yourself without patients if you pry into matters you ought not worry about.

    Based on what I can find from CDC stats and others who have published in the area there are less that 1,000 unintentional firearm deaths in the US every year. I don’t need my doctor to talk to me about storing my guns safely – and, apparently neither does (almost) anyone else.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    It seems to me you’re not interested in having a discussion based on the facts, so I’m done here.

    I am not sure what facts you mean. Assertions by reporters do not count as facts. The actual meaning of the cited text counts as fact. But the characterization of those statements by the reporter as violating a doctor’s rights may not be fact.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    It seems to me you’re not interested in having a discussion based on the facts, so I’m done here.

    I am not sure what facts you mean. Assertions by reporters do not count as facts. The actual meaning of the cited text counts as fact. But the characterization of those statements by the reporter as violating a doctor’s rights may not be fact.

  • Kar

    This is a good article relevant to the conversation griten by a doctor. I think she has a good perspective – one I can support. http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolynmcclanahan/2012/07/23/gun-owner-rights-and-obamacare-yes-it-is-in-the-law/

  • Kar

    This is a good article relevant to the conversation griten by a doctor. I think she has a good perspective – one I can support. http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolynmcclanahan/2012/07/23/gun-owner-rights-and-obamacare-yes-it-is-in-the-law/


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