May 28, 2015

Obamacare to NICS


Ruh-Roh: Administration Wants to Tie in Obamacare to NICS

( — Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has initiated a rulemaking process “to remove unnecessary legal barriers” under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule that may prevent states from reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is the database that houses information on individuals prohibited by law from possessing firearms.

This is one of the 23 executive actions the President announced in January.

“Through the public comment process, we will use the data and information provided by states, health providers, patient advocates and others to determine how best to remove unnecessary barriers to NICS reporting while protecting patient privacy,” Sebelius said in an April 19 HHS release.

The NICS was created by the Brady Act and ensures that guns are not sold to those prohibited by law from buying them, including felons, those convicted of domestic violence, and individuals involuntarily committed to a mental institution or found to be a danger or unable to manage their affairs due to a mental health condition.

According to a 2012 Government Accountability Office report, 17 states had submitted fewer than 10 records of individuals prohibited for mental health reasons.

The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) plans to issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to ask for the public’s input on how HIPAA may prevent some states from reporting to the NICS and ways in which these barriers can be addressed without discouraging individuals from seeking mental health services.

“In order to protect our children and communities, we must ensure that information on potentially dangerous individuals who are prohibited from possessing firearms is available to the background check system,” said Secretary Sebelius.

“Through the public comment process, we will use the data and information provided by states, health providers, patient advocates and others to determine how best to remove unnecessary barriers to NICS reporting while protecting patient privacy,” said OCR Director Leon Rodriguez.

The database that houses non-criminal justice information on individuals prohibited from possessing firearms for reasons related to mental health – called the NICS Index – does not contain medical or mental health records.

If an individual is prohibited from purchasing a firearm due to specific mental health reasons as set by law, the following information is submitted to the NICS: (1) basic identifying information about the individual such as name, social security number, and date of birth, (2) the name of the state or federal agency that submitted the information, and (3) a notation on which of the ten prohibited categories is applicable to the individual, which allows the individual to appeal and seek to correct incomplete or inaccurate information if needed.

When federally licensed firearms dealers request a NICS background check for a potential buyer, the only information they get back is that the potential buyer is approved, denied, or additional investigation is needed. The dealer does not receive any information about why an individual is denied and does not ever have access to any records of potential buyers, including health records.

The ANPRM will be available for review.

Comments can be submitted.

7 Responses to “Obamacare to NICS”
  1. J.M. MD says:

    If this is instituted, the big question is, if the info is wrong, how can an individual correct it?? Big gov is full of mistakes that cannot be corrected.

  2. W.S. says:

    Will I have to get a NICS check before I can have my prostate exam or colonoscopy ?????
    Oh, wait, that’s what the government does to us anyway, in oh so many ways.

  3. Doc says:

    “through the data and comment process…”
    Thats pretty vague and wide open to manipulation by those seeking gun legislation. Along the same lines as the media reporting that 90% of Americans support gun control. They can make up any statistics and publish them as fact to further their agenda.

  4. bob57 says:

    What most do not know is that the privacy provision of HIPAA is a lie. What you thought was confidential health information can be passed to other organizations through something called a Business Partnership Agreement. These can also be effectively ‘chained’ together. In other words, as a Business Partner, you can have a Business Partner and freely pass that data along to them. The insidious part of all this is that these agreements are confidential and as a patient, you are not allowed to see them. So the federal government has had a way to get your private health information by simply becoming a Business Partner to your doctor, clinic or hospital.

    The real question in all of this is the game that Sibelius is playing by going through a very public process to propose a change when it’s not needed. Perhaps one of the Trojan Horse functions of Obamacare is to get gun ownership into the medical records of all Americans. This would allow HHS to control guns as a matter of public health policy. There are many on the left (like the AMA) that fervently hope that happens. The AMA took a shot at it a few years ago when they tried to get all primary care physicians to obtain gun ownership information from their patients.

    As my father used to say, ‘something ain’t right here, I don’t know what it is, but it ain’t right’.

  5. JimBob says:

    Keep in ind that this administration has already defined “returning military” and Christians as being “potentially dangerous” individuals. Google “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”.

  6. Brenboy says:

    This will be fought out in Court, if any healthcare provider can contribute to your healthcare record WITHOUT your permission based on their anti-gun agenda, many people are going to have a problem. The main reason my wife and I changed doctors was all the gun questions from our primary care doctor who was decidedly anti-gun. People like that have the professional power to enter anything in your record and you would have to get a lawyer and possibly sue and go to court to get it expunged. Review your health records soon, your doctor and hospital maintain separate databases. BTW what exactly are the “10 prohibited categories” pertaining to mental health that would disqualify you from a firearm purchase and based on whose interpretation? Mental Health is by no means an exact science with predictable outcomes, many diagnosis are based on subjectivity and conjecture. This is a huge can of worms soon to be forced on us all.

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