By Keeley Sheehan
Health care and gun control are inextricably linked. Supposedly.
I came across this article today. The lobby group Gun Owners of America is opposed to the health care reform bill that the Senate is debating. According to GOA, the proposed health care reform will create some sort of super special government database that will keep track of everything you do, and your doctor will be able to enter into the database whether you own a gun, and you will be denied coverage. And if you have a mental health disorder, you won’t be able to own a gun.
According to GOA, the government will require Americans to purchase as much health coverage as they see fit, forcing citizens to “have less money for buying firearms and ammunitions.” (Though, as the author of the story points out, the same could be said for buying groceries, and so far the GOA hasn’t made any moves to shut down supermarkets.)
What I found most interesting about the story was not the way the author wrote it (though I did enjoy reading it), or the White House/GOA back-and-forth. The Slate author added a link in his story to a St. Petersburg Times fact check.
According to their Politifact check, the bill does allow for “healthy” and “unhealthy” behaviors to factor into health care premiums, but to say that this will lead to the demise of the 2nd
Amendment is a stretch. It also points out two things the GOA didn’t touch on in their arguments: the bill could give more protection to those engaged in “unhealthy behaviors,” and there’s nothing in the bill to suggest that the government will consider gun ownership in regard to health care in the future.
I think all these links point to the importance of journalists, and the need for unbiased reporting, especially with how quickly information, particularly false information, can spread via e-mail and the Internet. With entities like the White House on one side and the GOA on the other, it’s important that a middle exists, keeping both sides’ facts – or lack of – in check.