Remember when the Obama administration was struggling to pass Obamacare? Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told the Congress, “But we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it . . . .” (Video). And Congress, like a bunch of dumb, effing, rubber stamps, dutifully voted to enact a bill that they hadn’t even bothered to read.
Insofar as the Supreme Court has declared that the essence of every law is “Congressional intent,” we can reasonably wonder if Obamacare is a law at all since there can be no “Congressional intent” behind a law that Congress didn’t read before they voted for it. If there’s no intent, can there be a law?
In any case, the “Pelosi moment” (when Congress voted for another bill they hadn’t even read) remains an “Obamanation” and a tribute to Congressional stupidity, cynicism and malfeasance.
But, as they say, “’tis an ill wind (or Obamanation) that blows no good.”
As it turns out, not only the Congress failed to read the 2800-page ObamaCare bill, neither had Nancy Pelosi and even President Obama.
And guess what?
(1) WELLNESS AND PREVENTION PROGRAMS- A wellness and health promotion activity implemented under subsection (a)(1)(D) may not require the disclosure or collection of any information relating to–`(A) the presence or storage of a lawfully-possessed firearm or ammunition in the residence or on the property of an individual; or`(B) the lawful use, possession, or storage of a firearm or ammunition by an individual.`
(2) LIMITATION ON DATA COLLECTION- None of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act shall be construed to authorize or may be used for the collection of any information relating to–`(A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition;`(B) the lawful use of a firearm or ammunition; or`(C) the lawful storage of a firearm or ammunition.`
(3) LIMITATION ON DATABASES OR DATA BANKS- None of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act shall be construed to authorize or may be used to maintain records of individual ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition.
(4) LIMITATION ON DETERMINATION OF PREMIUM RATES OR ELIGIBILITY FOR HEALTH INSURANCE- A premium rate may not be increased, health insurance coverage may not be denied, and a discount, rebate, or reward offered for participation in a wellness program may not be reduced or withheld under any health benefit plan issued pursuant to or in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act on the basis of, or on reliance upon–`(A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition; or`(B) the lawful use or storage of a firearm or ammunition.
(5) LIMITATION ON DATA COLLECTION REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALS- No individual shall be required to disclose any information under any data collection activity authorized under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act relating to–`(A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition; or`(B) the lawful use, possession, or storage of a firearm or ammunition.’.
Based on that text, some have leaped to the conclusion that this Senate Amendment to Obamacare, “Prevents [All] Gun and Ammo Registry“. When I first read about the “hidden provision” in Obamacare, I also jumped to that conclusion.
However, that’s not true. Gun and ammunition registries won’t be possible under Obamacare, but such registries could still be possible under some other laws . Doctors might be able to ask their patients some questions about their ownership of guns or ammunition, but doctors will not be able to compel you to answer such questions under Obamacare.
Thus, the Senate amendment preventing of gun and ammo registries under Obamacare is not, by itself, enormously important. It’s good. But it’s not great
• However, if there were an instance where another gun registry law and Obamacare overlapped, it might be possible to use Obamacare as a basis to challenge the gun registry laws.
For example, the IRS has been tasked with enforcing Obamacare by imposing fines on those taxpayers who haven’t signed up for Obamacare. I’ve heard rumors of proposed (?) legislation that would task the IRS with asking taxpayers if they have any guns or ammunition in their homes and/or imposing additional taxes on taxpayer’s guns.
If the IRS tried to enforce both Obamacare and gun registration laws, it might be possible to use the Obamacare prohibition against doctors collecting gun registration information to challenge other gun registration laws enforced by the IRS. I doubt that such argument would work, but if the argument were carefully crafted, the IRS might still drop an enforcement action rather than risk losing against such challenge in court.
• Here’s the CNN video describing the Senate Amendment to Obamacare: