Public health advocates are calling for the White House to remove provisions in the Obamacare health care law that restrict doctors' collection of data on gun use and ownership, which researchers say is stifling research on gun violence, the Washington Post reports.
National Rifle Association officials said they pushed for the language, which was quietly inserted in the sweeping health care reform bill before the Senate vote in 2009, out of concern insurance companies would single out gun owners for higher premiums, the Post said.
The health law also says wellness programs can't require patients to give information about guns they have in the house, and it prevents the Department of Health and Human Services from collecting data on gun use. While doctors are not forbidden to ask patients about guns, some physicians fear it will discourage full discussions about the safety hazards of keeping firearms in the household, Kaiser Health News says.
Medical groups and researchers say the Obamacare measure was the latest in a long line of efforts by the NRA to inhibit public health research on the impact of guns, thereby hindering efforts to prove new gun laws are needed. In 1996, Congress limited the Center for Disease Control's ability to fund such research. Last year, a funding bill contained a measure prohibiting the National Institutes of Health from spending money to "advocate or promote gun control," the Post reported.