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Obama Asks Doctors to Inquire About Guns

Obama unveils his gun control proposals
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Several of Obama’s 23 points he’ll consider for controlling guns use the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to snoop about your guns.

According to President Obama, the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit physicians or health care providers from asking if a patient has guns in their home. It also does not prohibit health care professionals from warning authorities “about threats of violence.”    Here is an excerpt from the White House letter that outlines the 23 points. These specifically deal with the health care angle (from the Weekly Standard):

PRESERVE THE RIGHTS OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS TO PROTECT THEIR PATIENTS AND COMMUNITIES FROM GUN VIOLENCE: We should never ask doctors and other health care providers to turn a blind eye to the risks posed by guns in the wrong hands.

Clarify that no federal law prevents health care providers from warning law enforcement authorities about threats of violence: 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.

Protect the rights of health care providers to talk to their patients about gun safety: Doctors and other health care providers also need to be able to ask about firearms in their patients’ homes 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.

Two of the sentences were bolded for emphasis. While the discussion has already heated up, it appears that health care professionals are being asked to violate patient-client confidentiality by reporting what they think might be threatening, violent, or harmful behavior by a patient.

It also appears Obama is expecting health care providers to ask if patients have guns in their homes — especially if the person exhibits signs of mental illness. So if someone acts oddly, or appears to have psychological issues, the doctor is supposed to automatically ask if they own a gun? Is that not profiling? Isn’t that an invasion of privacy?

We predict anyone who owns a gun who goes to the doctor will simply lie to the physician.

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