Steve Benen writes: "It's not an abortion bill, but the debate managed to turn to abortion. It's not a gun bill, but the debate has managed to turn to guns. It's funny how the culture-war issues manage to sneak their way into everything."
How did guns get into the picture? Well, about a week ago, Gun Owners of America told its 300,000 members that the reform bill pending in the Senate "would mandate that doctors provide 'gun-related health data' to 'a government database,' including information on mental-health issues detected in patients, which could jeopardize their ability to obtain a firearms license."
This is simply not true (although I wish it was). The Senate healthcare bill requires doctors to report anonymous statistical information to help with research, but none of this would lead to gun ownership or "gun related health data" being included in reporting to the government.
The Gun Owners of America go even further, alerting their members that "nothing within the bill would prohibit rabidly anti-gun HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from decreeing that 'no guns' is somehow healthier", resulting in higher premiums for gun owners.
That's just stupid semantics. Guess what? Nothing in the bill would prevent Obama from raping your kittens either — doesn't mean it's going to happen, and it certainly doesn't mean the bill is flawed.
I guess health care reform is so big that it's like a Christmas tree bill upon which everyone wants to hang their own ornament. Still, it's more propaganda and disinformation which detracts from an honest debate.