Obama gun plan calls for long-awaited rules on mental health
By Sam Baker - 01/16/13 12:31 PM ET
From Healthwatch - The Hill's Healthcare Blog
President Obama's plan to reduce gun violence calls for long-awaited rules requiring insurance companies to cover mental health services.
Obama said his administration would finalize rules on mental health parity, the requiring of mental healthcare to be covered the same way as physical healthcare. The regulations have languished since 2008, and Senate Democrats had called on Obama to push the rules forward as part of his gun-control recommendations.
Obama also said his administration would be "issuing guidance making clear that the Affordable Care Act does not prevent doctors from talking to patients about gun safety," amid a host of other healthcare-related actions and recommendations.
The White House plan calls for bolstering access to mental health services in schools and encouraging teachers to intervene early when they believe a student needs counseling.
Obama also directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study gun violence, despite a congressional order that prohibits the agency from conducting any research that would "advocate or promote gun control."
Obama said that order should not be read as an all-out ban on gun research, and he called on Congress to provide $10 million in funding for the CDC to study gun violence and possible links to violent movies and video games.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
EMBARGOED UNTIL THE START OF THE PRESIDENT’S REMARKS
January 16, 2013
Gun Violence Reduction Executive Actions
Today, the President is announcing that he and the Administration will:
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
11. Nominate an ATF director.
12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.