Gun rights and health care

Gun rights and health care

This is a discussion on Gun rights and health care within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; In another thread, a member criticized the NRA for trying to tie gun rights to health care, opining that it is such a long stretch ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    Gun rights and health care

    In another thread, a member criticized the NRA for trying to tie gun rights to health care, opining that it is such a long stretch to try to make that connection, and that not everything is a gun rights issue. As some additional food for thought, I offer this from an editorial by Paul Helmke that appeared in the LA Times on 3/8/2010.
    Starbucks owns more than 8,800 coffee houses worldwide; including licensees, there are more than 16,000 locations. If the company were to have a policy that, say, resulted in tainted food and drinks that sickened its customers, we would all agree that such a threat should be communicated to the American public.

    Well, there is a policy that is just as dangerous.

    The decision by Starbucks to welcome guns in its restaurants where the law permits represents a public health risk. While food-borne illnesses are estimated to kill 5,000 Americans each year, more than 30,000 of us are killed annually by firearms. Guns represent a public health threat at least as great as food poisoning. Firearm fatalities are consistently ranked as one of the leading causes of death among young people in America. As Dr. David Hemenway of the Harvard School of Public Health wrote in 2004, "Across U.S. regions and states, where there are more guns, children are at a significantly greater risk of dying."

    After hearing complaints from individuals concerned about "real-life Yosemite Sams," as The Times describes them, the Brady Campaign kicked off its petition drive. Starbucks says it wants to be left alone. But imagine the outrage -- possibly even on The Times' editorial page -- were the company to offer the same response after being cited for serving food tainted by E. coli.
    Note how the Brady Center is trying to frame the debate, that as long as Starbucks bans guns it isn't taking a stand on gun rights, but not folding to the Brady Center's demands is. Note also that Helmke is very definitely trying to frame it as a public health issue, like food contamination. I feel certain there is more to come - lots more - if nationalized health care passes.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Array press1280's Avatar
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    It's backdoor gun control(and really people control). If the government has to pay for everyone's health care, then its in their interest to control costs. So everything from trans fats to guns can be restricted and/or banned because everyone else has to pay for you getting fat or accidentally shooting yourself.
    "The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree..."
    Nunn v. State GA 1848

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    There is already a back door to controlling you

    Quote Originally Posted by press1280 View Post
    It's backdoor gun control(and really people control). If the government has to pay for everyone's health care, then its in their interest to control costs. So everything from trans fats to guns can be restricted and/or banned because everyone else has to pay for you getting fat or accidentally shooting yourself.
    There is already a back door to controlling you through the use of corporate personnel policies designed to "appease" the insurance industry. We get no vote in any of it. E.g., urine testing for nicotine use, mandatory employer demanded weight control programs. And if an employer told you you can't own guns, they could make that stick.

    These and other controls are cropping up all the time and we have no say in the matter.

    How exactly is this any less bad than when the policy is made by legislators who have to stand for election, or by Federales who can be hauled before Congress to justify their decisions? Or who get grilled by The Press when they over-reach?

    What we have now is absolute authoritarian control by the employer with no checks and no balances. Worrying about what the government might do has it backwards.

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    VIP Member Array goldshellback's Avatar
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    It's a change in 'tactics' by those who want 'our' guns taken from us. It's not 'new' but they are ramping-up the retoric to sway opinion.

    There's been a few threads about doctor office questionairs, or direst querries from doctors and/or nurses, about guns being 'in the house' too. That's a pretty blantent tie to health care.

    The 'backdoor' will be the path the 'anti's' take to press thier agenda without creating a 'direct' conflict with 'us'.....so they think.
    "Just getting a concealed carry permit means you haven't commited a crime yet. CCP holders commit crimes." Daniel Vice, senior attorney for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, quoted on Fox & Friends, 8 Jul, 2008

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    re: Goldshellback

    Quote Originally Posted by goldshellback View Post
    It's a change in 'tactics'

    The 'backdoor' will be the path the 'anti's' take.
    OK, which one of these two choices gives the ordinary fella a say.

    1) Employer imposed limitations --
    2) Government imposed limitations

    If a health insurance company decides that sport shooting is bad for your ears, causes you to breath smoke, and to inhale lead particulates, they could easily cause an employer to prohibit you from engaging in sports shooting. You would have zero recourse under present law. You would either have to give up your hobby or give up your job.

    OTOH, with government run health programs anyone who proposed such actions would be held up to public scrutiny, and there would at least be debate in Congress, and you'd get a tiny voice with your vote.

    Which do you think is more dictatorial? Which is really the back-door path?

    Remember, there is plenty of precedence allowing employers to bar smoking not only by the employee but by members of their household. Same could be extended to ownership and use of handguns using the very same health risk argument.

    Now tell me, which side do you trust? The one where you have a say however tiny, or the one where you have no recourse whatsoever.

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    Distinguished Member Array jumpwing's Avatar
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    In an effort to curry favor with voters, the government mandates that certain expenses be carried by employers. Employers insist that, if they must bear the burden of these costs, they should be able to make rules aimed at keeping these costs reasonable and manageable. Politicians get their money from businesses, not voters, and turn the system to support the employer.

    Voters are happy because employers have to provide benefits.
    Employers are happy because the gov will support their efforts to control costs, Constitutional or not.
    "The flock sleep peaceably in their pasture at night because Sheepdogs stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
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    Senior Member Array dnowell's Avatar
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    I believe that I'm the member you're addressing. If nationalized health care were on the table, your concern could be legitimate. The way the current proposals and bills are structured, there are simply regulations and subsidies on private market health insurance. Even the public option, which is unlikely to pass, is "optional" as you could buy private insurance instead.

    Given that these are all private companies selling insurance on competing terms, any company that banned gun ownership would be at a serious competitive disadvantage.

    In the current legislation, insurance would be sold through a central market where terms can be compared. This would make it easier to select away from a plan that restricts gun ownership. In the current system, you don't have a heck of a lot of choice if your employer decides to switch to a plan that doesn't work for you.

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    re:dnowell

    Quote Originally Posted by dnowell View Post

    Given that these are all private companies selling insurance on competing terms, any company that banned gun ownership would be at a serious competitive disadvantage.
    Not sure why you say that. There are companies which presently ban smoking, even testing employees urine for traces of nicotine, but they seem to not be disadvantaged in the marketplace. There are companies which mandate you make life style changes to satisfy their insurance carrier. These put the insurance carrier at a competitive advantage, not a disadvantage, as all the employer really wants is a good price on the policy.

    What I am trying to draw attention to is the error some here are making that they are willing to trust their ability to eat what they want, drink what they want, smoke, don't smoke, ride a motorcycle, ski-do, whatever, to their employer's discretion, which ultimately is to the health insurance carrier's discretion, but they are not willing to trust the legislative process or the Federal Rule Making processes to make these decisions.

    Which way gives the ordinary guy a tiny bit of say in the decision making?

    Which way gives the ordinary guy a chance at changing things?

    I could easily envision a scenario where certain employers would, based on potential increased insurance rates, put into place a no-guns at home rule.

    Now, if Uncle tried that, there is at least a chance that 2A would get it quickly reversed as such would appear to be plainly unconstitutional when done by government. There is no such protection when the employer pulls that stunt. (Maybe a good argument in favor of nationalized health insurance?)

  9. #9
    Distinguished Member Array GWRedDragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    What we have now is absolute authoritarian control by the employer with no checks and no balances. Worrying about what the government might do has it backwards.
    The difference is, if you disobey a rule of your employer you may be fired. From there you are free to go out and find a new job.

    If you disobey a rule of your government, you will be put in jail and your life essentially ended.

    It is not a meaningless distinction.
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  10. #10
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    re: GW Red Dragon

    Quote Originally Posted by GWRedDragon View Post
    The difference is, if you disobey a rule of your employer you may be fired. From there you are free to go out and find a new job.

    If you disobey a rule of your government, you will be put in jail and your life essentially ended.

    It is not a meaningless distinction.
    True, but when was the last time you heard of a Medicare recipient being put in jail, short of outright fraud? The Medicare folks pretty much leave me alone. No one from Uncle bothers me. No one from Uncle tells me I have to toss my cigars. No one from Uncle tells me I can't shoot. No one from Uncle tells me I can't risk injury practicing Krav and Arnis. No one from Uncle interferes with my life style. Heck, even old GB #41 was free to jump out of a plane when he was too darn old to be wearing a parachute. No one threatened to drop his Medicare because he might break a leg/hip or worse.

    And if the government is as some believe so out to put anti-gun rules into your health insurance, why haven't they already tried that with Medicare (don't confuse with Medicaid, different program.)

    The bottom line is there is a constitutional protection against the Federal government putting restrictions on gun owners, whereas there is no such protection from your employer-- and his insurance carrier-- neither of which give a hoot about your hobby or your safety, and one of which (your insurance carrier) has its own huge and unregulated bureaucracy, often located in the same states with massive anti- sentiments.

    What I am trying to say is that you may be in favor or against health care reform for whatever motives you choose, but the idea that you are retaining protection from bureaucrats making anti-gun rules by sticking with a purely private system doesn't hold water.

    And, as for the comment, "you can always change jobs" argument, that assumes two things. 1) there are other jobs to be found; 2) they don't have the same restrictions.

    We know what employers do all the time with anti-carry rules, no guns in the parking lot rules, etc. They do it for "liability" protection at the behest of their insurance carrier. Why should we trust them to not go further if their insurance carrier gets the idea that once in awhile they have to pay out for NDs, but they can eliminate the cost entirely by telling the employer to not permit the hired help to own or even have guns in the home?

    Why the worry over government when we know what the private underwriters have already done?

  11. #11
    Member Array narcberry's Avatar
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    I'd like to take his analogy further.

    If gun deaths are like a disease, they are mostly a preventable one. If you don't want a gun death don't deal drugs, commit suicide, or enter my house when I'm sleeping. That leaves about 1500 accidental gun deaths, which is what that douchebag pretends is written out as "30,000".

    If this weren't political and this pretentious liar actually cared about my health, he would write regarding the dangers of DUI drivers on highways. I'm much more likely to be killed by one of these scumbags. Or doctors: US Gun Statistics .
    Crime should be outlawed.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnowell View Post
    I believe that I'm the member you're addressing. If nationalized health care were on the table, your concern could be legitimate. The way the current proposals and bills are structured, there are simply regulations and subsidies on private market health insurance. Even the public option, which is unlikely to pass, is "optional" as you could buy private insurance instead.
    I wasn't addressing you or calling you out, merely providing context for the discussion of the tactic and the editorial. Had I been addressing you, I'd have done so by name. I didn't post this to discuss the particulars of current health care legislation, especially when we don't know what form if any it might take in the near future. I was, however, thinking of the incrementalist philosophy of gun control with respect to current discussions by members of Congress on establishing a health care reform foothold, then introducing incremental measures to enhance and expand Federal involvement and control of the health care industry. Regardless of any current proposed legislation, my concerns are legitimate. There are a number of ways for gun control to be tied to health care and from different angles.

    No, a public option is not under current discussion, however, members of Congress have promised to continue pressing for the introduction of a re-crafted public option in the future. I suggested that we will hear much more of the gun-ownership-as-public-health-issue rhetoric precisely because of the incrementalist approach now being promised, if Congress can get a foot in the door.

    Quite apart from insurance options, there are other approaches that could also be argued relying on the same rhetoric as Helmke and others are (and have been) using to frame handgun ownership as a public health issue, much as the declaration that atmospheric carbon dioxide is a public health issue was intended to provide a back door to Federal environmental control completely outside of Congressional oversight.
    ...Given that these are all private companies selling insurance on competing terms, any company that banned gun ownership would be at a serious competitive disadvantage...
    Given that insurance companies have a vested interest in reducing their risk, I suspect rather the opposite might be true; just as happened with a move to restrict coverage of pre-existing conditions, where the practice spread through the industry, rapidly, once one major carrier made pre-existing condition exclusions policy. If one company were permitted to limit its risk by refusing to cover gun owners, many others would move to limit their risk similarly.
    ...This would make it easier to select away from a plan that restricts gun ownership. In the current system, you don't have a heck of a lot of choice if your employer decides to switch to a plan that doesn't work for you.
    There is no way of guaranteeing that we would have more choice, in this regard, under reform. The Federal government has means of coercing the private sector to its will, right now, if it chose to, such as attaching strings to existing Federal funding, subsidies, and low-income health care programs. That it hasn't done so, to date, is no gurarantee that it wouldn't at some point in the future. All that means is that anti-gun arguments of the public health angle haven't been pursuasive, yet. As I said, I feel certain we will hear much more about guns as public health as various groups and organizations continue their efforts to disarm us by whatever means turns out to work.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    There is already a back door to controlling you through the use of corporate personnel policies designed to "appease" the insurance industry. We get no vote in any of it. E.g., urine testing for nicotine use, mandatory employer demanded weight control programs. And if an employer told you you can't own guns, they could make that stick...What we have now is absolute authoritarian control by the employer with no checks and no balances. Worrying about what the government might do has it backwards.
    I would characterize corporate restrictions as the front door, myself. This is why tort reform is so important. Ultimately, it is the threat of liability that drives corporate and insurer policies. I think it would be a fair characterization to call Federal involvement in gun control as health care the back door, especially if it were approached via HCFA and HHS, as a means of circumventing the legislative branch. I don't think it is backwards, at all, to be concerned about what the government might do in this regard, particularly if it is the government applying economic pressure to the insurance companies which then make demands of employers who alter policy to appease the insurance companies. I think your model holds, as does my concern about the public health angle.
    - Tom
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  14. #14
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    re: TOM

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom357 View Post
    I would characterize corporate restrictions as the front door, myself. ..I think your model holds, as does my concern about the public health angle.
    Wouldn't it be nice if we had effective laws that provided real protections to everyone prohibiting employers from involving themselves in the private lives of their employees. Then, this issue of embedded gun control in health insurance wouldn't crop up. The related issues of nicotine control and weight control wouldn't crop up.

    Let the workplace be about work, about getting a job done, and let people alone once they clock out.

    I realize that is what happens most of the time with most employers, but not universally so. If we had stronger labor law we wouldn't be engaged in this discussion of using employer's power to enforce health rules. I just find it so ironic that everyone worries so much about government overstepping when the folks who hold the most immediate power over you as an individual are people you deal with every day.

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