Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Is the Senate health plan anti-gun?

"There is a broader issue here," said Dave Kopel, research director of the Independence Institute of Colorado, a libertarian think tank. "The more you socialize costs, the more you empower the argument that the government has the authority to control private behavior." Kopel pointed to the Japanese health care system, where employee waistlines are measured and those who are overweight are put into special weight loss programs, as an example of where the U.S. health care system could be headed. And gun control could become part of it, Kopel said. "If [the Department of Health and Human Services] can write regulations for lower premiums for healthy habits in general," Kopel said. "Then I don't see anything in the bill that stops HHS from saying people get higher premiums for unhealthy habits such as owning a gun or a handgun." Gun Owners of America spokesman Erich Pratt said the government has already blocked gun ownership through its access to the mental health records of military veterans. If a vet is diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, his or her name is sent to a special database used to prohibit gun purchases. So far, 150,000 veterans have been denied firearms using the list, Pratt said. The Senate bill could widen government oversight of who can own a gun, he warned. "With these mandates, it is really going to be impossible to keep our medical information out of this database," Pratt said...read more

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