According to a Forbes magazine article, Gun Owner Rights and Obamacare – Yes It Is In The Law, by physician Carolyn McClanahan (July, 2012), the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) has several restrictions which restrict what health care providers can say and do regarding the ownership of firearms by their patients:
“Wellness and prevention programs may not require the disclosure or collection of information relating to the presence or storage of a lawfully possessed firearm or the use of a firearm.” In addition, health care providers “can’t collect data related to owning or using firearms” and “can’t use or maintain records of individual ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition”. Also, “individuals do not have to disclose they own a gun.”
The above restrictions are federal law. But there is also a specific law in the gunshine state, Florida, which similarly restricts health care providers from asking about firearms ownership. And while the federal law has met little resistance, the Florida law is under heavy fire.
The controversy seems to have begun with a single pediatrician: Family and pediatrician tangle over gun question. He asked the mother of a 4-month old child, “Do you keep a gun in the house?” When she refused to answer, he told her she had 30 day to find a new doctor for her infant.
The physician claims that he asks all his patient’s parents that question; then he advises that parents lock them away so children don’t hurt themselves. “The purpose is to give advice… I don’t tell them to get rid of the guns,” he said.
OK, but if that were true, why refuse to treat an infant simply because the parent won’t answer the question? Are infants wielding guns really a common safety issue? It seems to me the purpose is not advice. If it were, the physician could simply advise the parents: “if you have any firearms in the home, please make certain they are locked away and inaccessible to children.” I mean, why not give the advice without knowing if there are any guns?
So the purpose is not really safety. It is a way for a liberal physician to pressure, perhaps mildly, parents to remove guns from the home. Every time you take your kids to the doctors, they are asking about your guns, and portraying guns as nothing but a danger to children. They say that guns are a danger to health and safety, therefore a physician should inquire about guns in the home. But guns can also be viewed as a way to keep your family safe. It is not a medical fact that you are safer unarmed.
Well, the Florida state legislature passed a law, in 2011, to prevent physicians from asking such questions. But the law prompted a lawsuit, which has been making its way through the court system. And now the latest development in the case: Federal court orders rehearing in ‘Docs v. Glocks’ case, putting law in limbo again. So while the federal law still restricts what physicians can say and do regarding guns, the more restrictive Florida law is essentially not in effect, yet. See also: Doctors take aim at ‘Docs vs. Glocks’ law again.
In my non-lawyer opinion, it is hard to pass and enforce a law, even one supported by an enumerated right in the U.S. Constitution, if the law conflicts with the culture. Judges are supposed to decide cases based on constitution, law, and precedent. But the culture of our nation is like a fourth estate (the three branches of government are the three estates). It is as if culture had the same standing as law or constitution or judicial precedent. And that is a serious problem for a society that wishes to govern itself by its constitution and laws.
Take a look at this website: Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership. They have an article with some sane recommendations on what to do if your doctor starts asking about guns. Some tips from that article:
“* Your doctor is professionally unqualified to give expert advice on firearms
* Your right to own firearms is a civil right that is none of your doctor’s business
* A doctor misusing his or her authority and trust to push a political agenda of gun control is an ethical boundary violation. Such unprofessional conduct is not acceptable.
Your right to own a firearm is enshrined in the Constitution. Don’t let any doctor or health plan intimidate you into giving up your civil rights.”
The right to keep and bear arms is being infringed to a severe extent by our present-day culture.