Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Senate Obamacare Bill Could Ban Guns

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gun banThe Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on Chairman Max Baucus' socialized healthcare bill Tuesday, October 13, and Gun Owners of America (GOA) is warning the bill contains language that could be used to ban firearms.

In a statement Friday, GOA gave highlights of the unnumbered bill based on a summary of the legislation published recently. The pro-gun organization complains that the actual bill has not been released to the public yet. It is listed on the Senate Finance Committee website simply as "an Original Bill providing for Health Care Reform."

The legislation would require individuals to maintain a certain minimum of insurance coverage, imposing fines for non-compliance. It gives no cost for the policies and provides only a Congressional Budget Office estimate of costs and benefits based on the summary. It also gives power to "define and update the categories of treatments, items and services" contained within the minimum insurance requirement to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

That, says GOA, is a big problem. Sebelius has an anti-gun voting record, and GOA cautions that she would have the power to exclude individuals who engage in sports and self-defense activities that involve firearms. The Baucus bill also contains provisions allowing insurers to charge higher premiums for "unhealthy behavior" but fails to define that term. A bureaucrat like Sebelius could easily rank gun owners in that category says GOA. It cites the current practice of companies like Prudential and State Farm which drop homeowners who refuse to use trigger locks and points out that gun owners would not be able to shop around for other coverage under ObamaCare’s nationalized system.

Also troubling is wording in the bill summary that provides for research to "encourage increased meaningful use of electronic health records." The pro-Second Amendment group sees this as a plain-language admission of a federal database to monitor not only medical history but also matters the government determines to be relevant, including gun information. GOA points out that many military veterans have been denied the right to gun ownership because of conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.