Question: Is there a provision in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that forces doctors to ask about gun ownership as part of a health history? A pediatrician told me it is included in Obamacare.
In the wake of Newtown, several noted pediatric specialists have called on their colleagues to ask parents about gun ownership and safe storage of firearms as a part of their medical history for children. The assumption is that owning a gun is a health risk to all of the family in the residence. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that doctors talk with families about safe gun storage.
With the holidays here, families are gathering in one place to celebrate from distant places-- exposing family members to germs from across the country. We can expect colds and flu to make the rounds. Flu vaccine—the most effective way to prevent the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—remains a controversial subject. Why?
First, most flu vaccines still contain thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative. This preservative is found in many household and over-the-counter preparations, including many contact lens solutions. It is not uncommon to have or develop an allergy to this preservative.
At this writing, we are 48 days from the most up for an election of our time. The central issue is the economy, which is failing, and shows no signs of recovery with the current strategy. One of the largest issues that impacts economy is one that is being forgotten by some. The health care issue is weighing on the economy like a dragging anchor.
Not long ago I heard about one of the hidden taxes embedded in Obamacare that required me to file a 1099 form every time I do as much as $600 worth of business with a given vendor. Of course, I have neither the resources nor the money to invest in such a frivolous activity, and my intention was to ignore the law because it is not reasonable or workable in any manner. It was designed to create a way to track commerce so that it can be taxed further. Fortunately, both houses of Congress realized how insane this piece of Obamacare was and how it would negatively impact small businesses like mine. It was repealed.
Jokingly, I mentioned to some of our patients for the past couple of weeks that the Christmas shopping season is good for our business. It increases patient volume because people frequently hurt themselves at this time of year. Shopping, walking across concrete floors, getting in and out of the car, putting heavy packages into trunks, assembling swing sets, cutting down just the right Christmas tree, leaning over the stove while cooking, etc., stresses our backs, shoulders, necks, hands, knees, and feet. Sitting for three hours at a time while watching football games can amplify back pain. Add to that the notion that we are usually in a hurry and crazed during the holiday, and we are all the more prone to injury.
The drug screening aspect of my practice is a little smaller during the Obama economy because pre-employment screens are significantly decreased in number. Interestingly, we seem to have fewer positive screens because the applicants we see are desperate for work, so they are either not using recreational drugs as much, or they are cleaning themselves up before going to work in one of the few jobs available.
Among the drugs we see, marijuana is always the most frequent. It is common, easy to get, and inexpensive. Some of our supply is homegrown, but much of it comes from Mexico, literally on the backs of illegal aliens who cross the border as mules. Because it is fat soluble, it stays in the system for a minimum of 30 days. A heavy user may be positive for as long as 120 days. This makes it a very inconvenient drug for people to use if they want to enter the job market.
Robert A. Hayden, DC, PhD, FICC
The election looms. We are being bombarded on paper, on television, on radio, and maybe in personal visits with ideas, pleas, promises, slogans, talking points, etc. It's like a movie that you would like to fast-forward to the end to get past the slow, laborious parts to see how it ends.
The health care issue is not the driver of this election, but it is a point of concern to the main issue, the economy. I have written on related topics a couple of times already, but I read a survey of doctors' opinions that deserves repetition and amplification. Please bear with me one more time. After the election, maybe this awful subject will be less relevant, and I can move back to something clinical.