March 27th, 2010

GOA Secures Gun Owner Privacy in Health Care Legislation

No matter how you feel about the new Health Care Reform Act, there is at least ONE aspect of the legislation that should please you, thanks to the Gun Owners of America (GOA). Here’s the deal — at the insistent request of the GOA, a special provision was added to the health care reform bill that expressly FORBIDs any “wellness program” (public or private) from collecting (or distributing) any information about gun ownership. Why is this important? If such information was collected, health care providers could pass on the information to insurers who might then charge gun-owners higher rates based on perceived “unhealthy lifestyles” or higher risk factors.

Guns Owners of America

In addition to the ban on information collection, the GOA, through the efforts of Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, added a second critical protection to the new legislation. According to the Slate Blog, the GOA “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.” The “exchanges” mean the state-level insurance pools from which citizens may purchase health insurance if they are not currently covered.

Will this make a difference? You bet. One web reader, commenting on the Slate story, explained: “I’ve worked as a consultant to insurance companies and I can promise you they [the insurance companies] will not only use that data to charge you and your family more for insurance (dangerous activities), but then also pool their data and sell their data to any company or government agency that has the cash to pay the price. Is that what you wanted from health care?”

Obviously there are many other controversial issues associated with the new Health Care Reform Act. However, thanks to the GOA and Nevada Senator Harry Reid, at least firearm owners can take some comfort that health care providers and insurers will NOT be asking questions about our guns, and using the answers to raise our rates… or worse.

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