March 24, 2010
Slate: A Gun-Nut Win On Health Reform
(GunReports.com)--A Slate.com item posted by Timothy Noah gave backhanded props to the Gun Owners of America for protecting gun ownership in the healthcare bill.
Slate isn't known for its support of gun rights, and Noah's tone wasn't complimentary about GOA's efforts. He wrote:
"Score one for the Gun Owners of America, a lobby group positioned well to the right of theNational Rifle Association. Last month I described how this fringe group zeroed in on a health reform provision encouraging insurers to reward healthy habits and, by implication, to punish unhealthy ones like smoking and obesity. GOA got it into its head that if health reform were passed, the health and human services secretary would compel insurers to punish gun ownership as an unhealthy lifestyle. Although an adverse health impact (or threat of same) on man or beast is pretty much the whole point of owning a gun, nothing in the bill remotely suggested Congress wanted to wade into these politically treacherous shoals.
"Nonetheless, to pacify GOA, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (who represents the gun-loving state of Nevada) has inserted into his "manager's amendment" a section titled "Protecting 2nd Amendment Gun Rights." It states that no wellness program implemented under health reform may require disclosure or collection of any information relating to gun ownership.
Since collecting information about gun ownership was the last thing health reformers wanted to do, this concession represents no particular sacrifice on the government's part.
"But gun owners also won another provision forbidding private insurers participating in the bill's exchanges from charging higher premiums, or denying coverage, or denying wellness discounts on the basis of gun ownership.
Unlike the previous section, this one doesn't place a restriction on what government may do. It places a restriction on what the private sector may choose to do on its own. It inhibits that most holy of right-wing sacred cows: free enteprise."
Faint praise indeed, but GOA deserves an attaboy for getting out in front of problems healthcare might cause gunowners.