Obama Using Executive Power to Act on Background Checks
President Obama is still seeking to expand background checks even after the Senate voted against expanding the current background check system this week.
The measures will allow authorities more access to health care records in order to deny the sale of more guns to more people. The measure will seek to skirt current HIPAA regulations which greatly protect the medical history of patients.
According to The Daily Caller:
The Obama administration was starting a process Friday aimed at removing barriers in health privacy laws that prevent some states from reporting information to the background check system. The action comes two days after the Senate rejected a measure that would have required buyers of firearms online and at gun shows to pass a background check. That’s already required for shoppers at licensed gun dealers.
The Health and Human Services Department on Friday was beginning to ask for public comment on how the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, passed by Congress in 1996 and known as HIPAA, is preventing some states from reporting to the background check system and how to address the problem. Under HIPAA, health care providers such as hospitals may release limited information to police, but only in certain circumstances such as when a court is involved.
Speaking after the failed Senate vote Obama said, “Even without Congress, my administration will keep doing everything it can to protect more of our communities. We’re going to address the barriers that prevent states from participating in the existing background check system.”
It is yet to be seen how these expansions will affect voluntary mental health hospitalizations, substance abuse treatments, and mental health therapy.