Affordable Care is Actually Gun Control

I come from a generation of kids who see no shame in visiting a mental health professional when life gets a bit overwhelming. When I was young, and my father passed away, I went to a phsychiatrist for a while, and there’s nothing embarrassing about it. If you’re in your early 30s-late 20s and you haven’t struggled with the dilemma if whether popping an Adderall might help you get work done, or help your child do better in school (well lucky you) but, pardon me, you’ve been living under a rock!

Today, most of the people I know are on a mild anti-anxiety or anti-depressant. At the very least they’ve received a prescription, for a dose or two of Xanax from their doctor. This doesn’t make them mentally ill. In fact, I think this makes them responsible and healthy. If they weren’t willing to seek help and treat their ailments I would be highly concerned about their mental stability.

These were the thoughts that ran through my head last week as I prepared to “shop” for health insurance on the government’s new website. Never mind that with the “shutdown” the site is not functioning properly, I did like a good little lamb and created an account. But as I sit and wait for an email saying that I can continue the process, I’ve started thinking about all the little aches and pains for which I’ve previously seen my doctor. Then it occurred to me: when I renew my concealed carry permit in three years, will the FBI include my medical files in my background check? What in my record could keep me from passing? And that’s when I began to make this “infographic,” to explain just how I see this Trojan Horse, called the Affordable Care Act.


  1. This is so true. I’ve probably got ADD, which isn’t much fun as a college student… but there’s no way I’m going to try and get a prescription for anything that’s going to help me focus, since that could disqualify me from owning guns somewhere down the line.

    Thanks, government.

    1. Drugs like Ritalin have been around since the 40’s and were used on soldiers among others. They are stimulants just like caffeine and help people who’s brains are classified as other-than-perfect from the medical community. Eventually, EVERYONE could be classified this way, so how can this be used as a qualifier for gun rights?!?

      The truth is, it can’t be… Unless their goal is to disqualify EVERYONE from having gun rights…

      Things that make you go hmmm

    1. Meanie, I would like to agree with you, however, I went to a new doctor just last week. I almost fell out of my chair reading the long list of legitimate reasons that my doctor could release my medical records to other individuals without my permission. I had to sign acknowledging my understanding of the list prior to proceeding. While I would like to believe that the author is being paranoid, I also would not have believed that the government would use the IRS to target political enemies, give guns to mexican gun runners just to prove a political point, or allow the NSA to collect phone records of everyone in the country then perform illegal wiretaps on legitimate news reporters either. It is looking more and more like laws are being viewed more as ‘suggestions’ by those that run our country. They appear to ignore laws whenever it is politically expedient or whenever those laws are inconvenient for them.

  2. I see where you are coming from, but I don’t really buy into it. Call me an optimist, but I think gun rights are generally headed in a positive direction and while I will fight any gun legislation I deem unconstitutional, I will also fight equally hard to protect the directives of HIPAA (spelled with one P, as my Med/Surg instructor just told me recently). Allowing PHI (protected health information) to be in the hands of anyone not specifically assigned to the care of your patient is a very bad thing and will cost healthcare professionals their employment and possibly even licensure. That is not to say that nobody will try to breach that privacy, but most breaches are on an individual basis, not a large scale size PHI giveaway shindig. The public must be educated about HIPAA and why it is important so that they can fight any attempts to weaken it, but the only changes being made to HIPAA thus far are to tighten it. Maybe it is just a nursing school horror story, but my class was told the story of a nurse who was fired for looking up her own medical records without the “patient’s signed consent”. Crazy it may be, but your information is rather well protected.
    I am just not seeing the government as being allowed to access that information. HIPAA is actually what makes the mental health “conversation” on gun ownership so difficult. Mentally ill patients who own guns are not disqualified from buying them, because the NICS database reflects criminal history, not physical or mental health history (as that would be a violation of HIPAA). Correct me if I’m wrong, but the “compromise” between Progunners and antigunners seems to be angling towards the model used by the DMV, by which a doctor can file a grievance/complaint/notice of some sort saying “It is my professional opinion that this patient presents a danger to themself and others and should not be permitted to own a firearm.” Similar to how a physician must report a driver who is physically unable to safely travel on the road. Bear in mind, that this requires the patient’s consent for the physician to submit said report. It is also important to note, that if a doctor assesses a patient, deems the patients unsafe to drive and does not report said patient and said patient gets in a car crash and kills several people, the doctor can be held liable (cuz we love suing people here in ‘murrica!) so the above model might not even get a lot of love. Guard your gun rights, yes, but also guard your privacy and pay attention if anybody is talking about HIPAA, because if they change it, then the situation in the graphical is more likely to happen. But it is an extremely tight set of regulations and changing it to allow for less privacy would incense not only gun owners, but also doctors, nurses, patients and nearly anybody under the umbrella of the healthcare system. The gun owner in me regards this post with fear, especially if the MSM puts pressure on the politicians to dismantle HIPAA, but the realist in me says that the reason HIPAA was established (and enjoys a lot of support by very high profile professional medical associations) was to protect privacy. There are enough people who will fight for their privacy (not just gun owners) that there is not as much to be concerned about as you might think.

    1. Sorry about the long winded response. Also, don’t take this as an endorsement for Obamacare, as I am rather firmly against it. Frankly if your healthcare system is run as efficiently as the DMV, I’m not seeing a lot of hope for your health. Just keep informed and fight for your rights…all of them. (steps off soapbox)

      1. John is right. This delusional concern about the government taking your guns based on your health historry ( in the absence of a credible threat of clear and present danger ) is really nutty. I’m a physician with training in forensic emergency medicine and that is just not how hipaa or obamacare work.

    2. Then I must ask, how do you feel when the gun lobby calls for a fix to NICS? They have said that there is a need for a “national registry of the mentally ill” in order to make background checks more affective. Does this call not bolster my original argument, that eventually government agencies will gain access to records? PLUS, they will be doing so SPECIFICALLY at the urging of the NRA (among others)?

      1. I feel that it is an inappropriate breach of privacy for gun lobby to call for a registry of the mentally ill, just as it is inappropriate to make a national registry of firearms, hence my tirade about fighting not only for your gun rights, but also your privacy. One will affect the other and the gun lobby’s claims that “we need to keep those with mental illnesses from getting guns,” is a little too broad of a statement that could work against them, especially if they would seek to hamstring such an important act as HIPAA before seeking to define just what level of mental illness disqualifies you from gun ownership.

        1. So glad you said that… But that leads me tony next question: why is no one from the pro gun side asking the gun lobby to stop using that line? Don’t they represent us?

      2. You’re kidding, right? Various estimates by public health types and Big Pharma among others estimate that about 25% of the population has some sort of disorder, temporary, transient, or permanent, that would qualify for a mental health diagnosis. This could vary from mild bereavement to full blown schizophrenia. So, we would need an entire new government entity to ‘investigate’ 80 million people that could be in that category at any one time. Kind of untenable don’t you think…?

        Let’s get this mental health and gun thing straight once and for all. It refers to people who have been diagnosed with a disorder that makes them a clear and present danger to themselves or others AND WHO HAVE HAD THIS DETERMIANTION CONFIRMED IN A COURT WHICH ORDERED THEM INVOLUNTARILY COMMITTED TO A FACILITY.

        It does not, repeat NOT, refer to someone who was depressed when their dog died, or who had some voluntary outpatient psychotherapy for anxiety or depression, etc.

        The problem with NICS right now is that many states do not bother to report any civil commitments. I think we should not allow people who are actively crazy, have been involuntarily committed, and/or have shown themselves to be a danger to others to get their hands on guns, explosives, or ammunition.

  3. Gabby, I’m afraid you’re right. As for the comments about HIPAA, there’s a release within the website that the gov thinks qualifies as meeting the guidelines for HIPAA and allows them to release information when certain guidelines are met. The guidelines are, to be kind, not well explained. I’ve read discussion about if the release actually meets the HIPAA standard (no one is sure), and I suspect that once this information is used against people this will end up being resolved in court. Messily, and dragged out over a long period, during which the gov will continue to do whatever it wants with highly private information.

    Bottom line? I’m not signing up. I’m fortunate that the kind of work I do still provides healthcare, so I can get away with it, for now.

    1. I rarely say it, and only I say it specific to this situation, but I hate that I’m right

      Also, as a self-employed outspoken gun-nut, I feel as though I have a target painted on my back…

  4. I am not any more favorable about a witch hunt against anyone who has received mental health services than I am about a witch hunt against gun owners. It is important to remove barriers to self defense so that bad situations can be dealt with before they escalate further.

    I know that you are a gun person and not a health insurance person or an IT person but the Obamacare website problems have nothing to do with the shutdown. The leadtimes on such a project are so long that the problems were inevitable months ago.

  5. It’s pretty scary that you think that taking mind altering prescription drugs is a requirement for living a healthy life. I certainly hope that your view is skewed. If it’s not, then I fear that gun control will be the least of our worries.

    1. Skyler, you have illustrated exacly, the kind of stigma toward mental health, that is my concern. Many people with minor mental health issues respond very well to treatment (and that doesn’t always mean pills). Once stabilized, these people can lead as “normal” a life as you or me. Healthy living means different things to different people. I doubt you would deny a person with a genetic form of diabetes, their daily shots of insulin, would you?

      Further, many treatments can not be taken at face value. My going to a therapist at age 12, might have seemed extreme to an outside observer, but no one would call it an unreasonable treatment for a child who was grieving for the death of her 49 year old father. Conversly, many people take the drug “Chantix” for a few months, just to quit smoking, but that is a drug that has been known to cause temporary suicidal tendencies.

      “Healthy living” is not a quantitative metric. It’s a judgment; And you and our government can not make such a judgement blindly.

      1. Agreed with you on that one, Gabby. So many people in this country suffer from mental illness, diagnosed or not. It is safe to assume that many of them own guns. It is also safe to assume that most of them are not capable of being blindly violent or psychotic. Those are typically things that happen when a mental illness has gone too far, much like how rheumatic fever can be the end result of strep throat if it is not treated. Unfortunately, so many people who are “pro gun” have bought hook line and sinker the idea that all people with mental illnesses are dangerous. I’d be willing to bet alcohol causes more deaths than a mental illness. Yet alcoholics can still buy guns. Frankly, I’m more frightened of the person with a mental illness who doesn’t take the “mind altering drugs” or the supposedly “normal” person who is in fact a rabid bigot, or perhaps and alcoholic, or a wife beater. There are many things much more dangerous than a well controlled illness.

        1. Everybody needs a scapegoat! I guess the gun lobby has decided to send us back into the 50’s, when depressed people could just, Cheer up!

          I’ve seen how mental illness can destroy a person like a cancer and how affective medication and therapy can be. It may not be as cut and dry as the flu, but the understanding has come a long way.

          A few years ago veterans who came home with PTSD and who sought treatment, were stripped of their gun rights permanently, even after they were given a clean bill of health. We all know PTSD doesn’t have to be a permanent condition, but it is a mental illness and deserves the same care as a broken leg. The thing is, when the leg has been set, has healed and physical therapy is all done, does the patient not deserve to go running again?

  6. “If you’re in your early 30s-late 20s and you haven’t struggled with the dilemma if whether popping an Adderall might help you get work done, or help your child do better in school (well lucky you) but, pardon me, you’ve been living under a rock!”

    Sorry, but this sounds very narrow-minded to me.

  7. As a fairly liberal 20-something year old college student , I cannot agree with much of what Gabby posted here. Perhaps I’m just fortunate but I and most of my friends do not need prescriptions to get through the day and I see turning to drugs as a first choice rather than a last resort to be a problem. That’s not to say people with legitimate issues should not seek help, they should and therapy is an excellent first step, but they should not get prescriptions for having a bad day or drug themselves into being a better student. Also while I know the chances are slim, the laundry lists of potential side effects to psychoactive drug use are not inspiring confidence that people currently on them (not having taken the in the past) are going to be the safest potential gun owners. Using your broken leg analogy, people should of course be allowed to go back to running, but not while the leg is still broken.

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