Obama using gun issue to advance health law

by Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times  |  published on January 19, 2013

gun issue

President Obama is using the national debate over gun violence to push for further action on his health care law, including insisting on the kind of mental health coverage states must provide under their Medicaid programs.

Mr. Obama, unveiling his gun proposals Wednesday barely a month after the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn., will make it clear that his health law, known as the Affordable Care Act, allows doctors to ask patients whether they have guns in their homes, and will tell them they are able to report any threats of violence they hear to police.

The president also will lay out the mental health coverage that all insurers will be required to provide under his signature-achievement law.

Those are some of the 23 executive actions Mr. Obama plans to take whether or not Congress acts on his broader recommendations, the White House said.

Other moves including offering incentives for schools to hire police; finally naming a new director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and requiring federal authorities to trace all guns recovered in their criminal investigations.

Mr. Obama also will call on his secretaries of education and health and human services to hold a national dialogue on mental health.

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