A recent article from Dr. Mark Kestner, a columnist for the Murfreesboro Post, shed light on a new strategy that is being used by the United States government to keep tabs on whether Americans keep loaded firearms in their homes.
“If you have not been asked by your primary care doctor about whether you keep guns in your home, you soon will be,” Kestner wrote.
Kestner noted that the common question patients will be presented with is, “Do you keep loaded firearms in your home?” The answers patients give will be recorded in their health records at their doctor’s office, as part of the “Electronic Health Records initiative,” led by the federal government.
In addition to questions about loaded firearms, Kestner said that patients would also be asked questions related to domestic abuse, such as, “Do you have reason to be afraid that your spouse may physically harm you?”
Kestner explained that these questions are part of the provisions for the Affordable Care Act, and that while they are mandated by the federal government, patients “are not compelled by law to respond.”
“While it may appear that your doctor has suddenly taken a special interest in many more aspects of your life than they did previously,” wrote Kestner. “The truth is that the federal government is mandating that your doctor retrieve the information from their patients.”
Kestner reported that the shift doctors are required to make in the way they record patients’ health records leads to the records being formatted electronically “in a certain way to make the information universally accessible” to government entities.
Kestner claimed that while Florida has fought back by enacting a law that “forbids a doctor from talking to their patients about guns,” states like North Carolina require individuals seeking concealed carry permits to obtain certification from a physician stating that they are mentally and physically health enough to safely operate a handgun. According to Kestner, a recent survey found that “two thirds of doctors agreed that they are not adequately equipped by their training to determine how well a person is qualified to obtain a permit allowing concealed carry.”
“The federal Medicare program is structured in such a way that physicians had little choice but to comply with the program,” wrote Kestner, who explained that if physicians complied with the program, they were “rewarded with a financial incentive of several thousand dollars,” and if they failed to present the data, they would be “penalized by a certain percentage of Medicare payments going forward.”
“In essence, the feds are using their control of Medicare reimbursement to manipulate how your physician handles your personal health information,” wrote Kestner. “Some people see this as a responsible effort on the part of the federal government to reduce the number of accidental and intentional tragedies that involve guns. Others see it as an overreach into the privacy of patients in an attempt to find a way to work around rights afforded by the 2nd amendment.“