--- And charge you $10,000 a year for the privilege

Thursday, April 2, 2009

In a year when trillion dollar bailouts have become routine, many Americans have become almost numb to our acceleration towards socialism. 

But gun rights activists aren't in that crowd, and so GOA has to inform you of yet ANOTHER threat to your privacy, the Second Amendment, and even your wallet.

It is called an "individual mandate" or, alternatively, the "Massachusetts plan."  And over the weekend, both the Washington Post and the New York Times worked hard to build momentum for it. 

First, a little history.

We alerted you a few weeks ago to the gun control provisions in the stimulus bill that President Obama signed in February.  Our government will now spend between $12 and $20 BILLION to require the medical community to retroactively put our most confidential medical records into a government database -- a database that could easily be used to deny veterans (and other law-abiding Americans) who have sought psychiatric treatment for things such as PTSD.

Currently, gun owners can avoid getting caught in this database by refusing to purchase health insurance or by purchasing insurance with a carrier that has not signed an agreement with the government to place your records in a national database.

But that's all about to change.  A budget resolution -- to be voted on this Friday in the Senate -- will be the first domino in a process that could FORCE you to buy government-approved insurance, thus making it impossible to avoid the medical database. 

Put another way:  If you do not have health insurance -- or, potentially, if you do not have the TYPE of health insurance the government wants you to have -- the government will force you to purchase what it regards as "acceptable" health insurance.  And, in most cases, you will have to pay for it out of your own pocket. 

What would all this cost?  Based on comparable insurance currently on the market, it could cost $10,000 a year -- or more. 

If you were jobless, the socialists would probably spot you the ten grand.  But if you are middle class and can't pay $10,000 because of your mortgage payments, your small business, or your kids' college education, you would be fined (over $1,000 a year currently in Massachusetts).  And, if you couldn't pay the confiscatory fine, you could ultimately be imprisoned. 

Scary, you say.  But why is this a Second Amendment issue?  Under the Massachusetts plan, your MANDATED insurance carrier has to feed your medical data into a centralized database -- freely accessible by the government under federal privacy laws.

So... remember when your pediatrician asked your kid if you have a firearm in the home?  Or when your dad was given a prescription for Zoloft because of his Alzheimer's?  Or when your wife mentioned to her gynecologist that she had regularly smoked marijuana ten years ago? 

All of this would be in a centralized database.  And all of it could potentially be used to vastly expand the "prohibited persons" list maintained by the FBI in West Virginia. 

How serious a threat is this?

If it gets into the budget resolution the Senate will consider on Friday, it will be almost impossible to strip out later. It will be as much of a done-deal as the stimulus package was.

We have asked senators to introduce language to prohibit such an individual mandate for socialized medicine that would violate the privacy of gun owners. In the absence of such an amendment, we are asking senators to vote against the budget resolution. 

ACTION:  Write your U.S. Senators.  Urge them to vote against the budget resolution if it does not contain language prohibiting a mandate that Americans buy government-approved health insurance against their will.

Please use the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center to send your Senators the pre-written e-mail message below.

----- Pre-written letter -----

Dear Senator:

A budget resolution that could end up requiring Americans to purchase expensive health insurance policies against their will is truly frightening.   

And equally alarming is the fact that such mandated health care coverage could easily become a shill for gun control.

Potentially, anyone who does not have health insurance-- or does not have the TYPE of health insurance the government wants them to have -- will be forced to purchase "acceptable" health insurance and pay for it out of our own pockets. 

Based on the cost of comparable insurance currently on the market, that could cost $10,000 a year -- or more. 

That's bad enough. But far worse, such a "Massachusetts Plan" would MANDATE that an insurance carrier feed medical data into a centralized database -- freely accessible by the government under federal privacy laws.

Hence, a kid's statement to his pediatrician about his parents' firearms... or a dad's prescription for Zoloft because of his Alzheimer's... or a wife's statement to her gynecologist about her regular use of marijuana ten years ago... could all turn up in a federal database and unconstitutionally expand the list of "prohibited persons." Individuals would have no ability to opt out.   

For all of these reasons, if the budget resolution does not contain language prohibiting an "individual mandate" regarding health care, I would ask that you oppose the budget resolution.  

Sincerely,