On Friday, Gun Owners of America sent out an action alert to its 300,000 members warning that the Senate health care bill “would mandate that doctors provide ‘gun-related health data’ to ‘a government database,’ including information on mental-health issues detected in patients, which could jeopardize their ability to obtain a firearms license.” The alert also warned its membership that the “wellness and prevention” provisions in the health care bill would allow the Obama administration to issue a “no guns” decree:
Finally, as we have mentioned several times in the past, the mandates in the legislation will most likely dump your gun-related health data into a government database that was created in section 13001 of the stimulus bill. This includes any firearms-related information your doctor has gleaned…or any determination of PTSD, or something similar, that can preclude you from owning firearms.
And, the special “wellness and prevention” programs (inserted by Section 1001 of the bill as part of a new Section 2717 in the Public Health Services Act) would allow the government to offer lower premiums to employers who bribe their employees to live healthier lifestyles — and nothing within the bill would prohibit rabidly anti-gun HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from decreeing that “no guns” is somehow healthier.
The so-called “gun-related health data” is actually anonymous statistical information to help researchers develop health programs and initiatives that serve specific population groups or further the study of various conditions and medical needs. Section 2705 of the Senate health bill permits employers to vary insurance premiums by as much as 30 percent for employee participation in certain health promotion and disease prevention programs, but stipulates that the employer wellness program must be “based on an individual satisfying a standard that is related to a health status factor.” Gun ownership does not fall into this category.
This fear-mongering should be seen as the continuation of a multimillion dollar effort launched by the gun lobby to portray Obama as “a threat to the Second Amendment rights.” Prior to the election, the NRA claimed of Obama, “[N]ever in NRA’s history have we faced a presidential candidate…with such a deep-rooted hatred of firearm freedoms.” Since the election, the NRA and other gun groups continue to misinform voters about Obama’s gun policy proposals, claiming that unrelated policies — like the economic stimulus — are part of a broader campaign to strip gun rights.
“I’m not going to take away your guns,’’ Obama has repeatedly said. Nevertheless, sensing an opportunity to gain more members and fuel gun sales, the gun lobby has preyed on people’s fears by making up false claims.