We-Have-To-Pass-It-to-Find-Out-What’s-In-It Fact of the Day

The words were tucked deep into the sprawling text of President Obama’s signature health-care overhaul. Under the headline “Protection of Second Amendment Gun Rights” was a brief provision restricting the ability of doctors to gather data about their patients’ gun use — a largely overlooked but significant challenge to a movement in American medicine to treat firearms as a matter of public health.

More on the NRA winning clause to end data mining in the Washington Post.

Comments (7)

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  1. August says:

    From the Sunlight Foundation: at http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2013/01/02/the-fiscal-cliff-process-was-an-atrocious-secretive-mess/

    “The House voted blind, with about 12 hours of access to the bill… Of course, that’s nowhere near adequate time to process a bill, so stories of the ridiculous corporate tax subsidies in the bill only came out as the floor debate started.

    This is a side effect of not legislating. If Congress legislates, then they’ll have access to legislation. If they try to maximize imaginary leverage through crisis brinksmanship, then their role gets diminished to the point that they’re voting on things they haven’t read.”

  2. Studebaker says:

    It’s apparently too much to ask Members of Congress to be demand the right to actually understand what they are voting for before they are asked by their Leadership to take a position (which is usually prescribed by the Leadership).

  3. Neil Caffrey says:

    I’m confused as to why gun ownership is neccesary for doctors to adequitely treat an ailment of the human body. Unless the doctor is a mental health professional and is asking because he fears his patient will cause harm to others by using said specific firearm, I don’t see how the knowledge is applicable to anything useful. Other than of course the government exerting more power over society, but of course nobody cares about privacy anymore.

  4. Gabriel Odom says:

    This is completely absurd. We the taxpayers pay these representatives $174,000 per year, and they can’t even be bothered to do their job. If I pulled a stunt like this, I’d get fired.

  5. Linda Gorman says:

    This clause was in response to the fact that pediatricians and school-based health centers had, for some years, been following recommended care guidelines that required asking children as young as 11 or 12 to fill out a “health” questionnaire when they went for an annual physical. This was often done without their parents’ knowledge or input. In school-based health centers, parents often have to sign away any right to see a child’s medical record in order for the child to get care.

    The questions included ones asking whether there were guns in their house. Other questions gathered data on friends’ illegal behaviors, illegal drug use, smoking, sexual behavior, who a child was most likely to confide in, and other topics that are, basically, none of a physician’s business.

    The mere fact of parental gun ownership has never been shown to be a larger risk to health than, say, riding a bike. In some neighborhoods it may be protective.

    The answers became part of a child’s medical record, soon to be neatly uploaded for all of government to combine with parent records for happy and productive data mining.

    Given the context, anyone who cares about keeping government out of the house, let alone one’s bedroom, should be sending thank you notes to the NRA. And instructing kids that in the new surveillance society they should not cough up information just because someone supposedly in a position of trust asks for it.

  6. steve says:

    Actually, there is evidence that having a gun available increases risk. The part I dislike is that they also have forbidden military officers from asking about guns at home. Since I had to call to talk with the fiancé when one of my men killed himself, I think I can say that I know most officers would like to avoid that.


  7. Kyle says:

    Steve, are you suggesting that people wouldn’t commit violent crimes or injure themselves if there weren’t access to guns?

    When did they forbid the chain of command from asking about guns? They had initiatives to have all weapons registered on post, and were encouraging soldiers to keep their personal weapons locked up in the Arms Room. The military is subject to more restrictions on gun control than the average citizen.