Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) expressed concerns about the “intertwining” of President Barack Obama’s gun control push and his 2009 healthcare overhaul legislation Obamacare in a Wednesday evening statement.
Huelskamp worries that the administration will coordinate controversial parts of Obamacare that may invade patient privacy with the president’s new strident gun control efforts.
“The intertwining of ObamaCare and President Obama’s new anti-gun agenda raises serious concerns,” Huelskamp said. “With earlier and on-going efforts by the Obama Administration to invade personal liberties by collecting sensitive patient data, we should now be concerned that the Administration wants to reassure providers that they can ask – and record information – about patients’ gun ownership and storage of firearms.
“It seems that there is no end to the Administration’s efforts to conduct citizen surveillance in the exam room,” the Congressman warned.
One part of the president’s 23-point gun control proposal advocates that the government act to “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,” that part of the proposal opens.
The section calls on the government to “clarify” for doctors “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,” the proposal reads. “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.”
Obama’s proposal also says the federal government should act to “protect the rights of health care providers to talk to their patients about gun safety.” The president also explicitly mentions Obamacare’s role in gun control in this section as well, referring to it as the name of the passed legislation – “the Affordable Care Act.”
“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,” the proposal reads. “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 document continues. “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.”