Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) recently repeated a debunked conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was deploying a “secret security force” as part of the health care reform law, but he wasn't sure if they were being trained with weapons or syringes.
In a Friday interview, Christian radio host Janet Mefferd told the Texas congressman that the evidence of President Barack Obama creating a civilian security force and hoarding ammunition was adding up.
Gohmert agreed that "Obamacare wasn't just about health care" and pointed to a section of the Affordable Care Act that created the Ready Reserve Corps to "assist full-time Commissioned Corps personnel to meet both routine public health and emergency response missions."
While FactCheck.org has debunked conspiracy theories that claimed the health care law gave "Obama a Nazi-like 'private army' of 6,000 people," Gohmert still believed there could be evil lurking behind the Ready Reserve Corps.
"I've continued to ask questions, what is this for?" he told Mefferd. "It says it is for international health crises, but then it doesn't include the word 'health' when it talks about national emergencies. And I've asked, what kind of training are they getting? It provides in Obamacare that this commission and non-commissioned officer corps will be trained. But I want to know, are they using weapons to train or are they being taught to use syringes and health care items? But we've got no clear answers on that."
"Some kind of secret security force is the kind of thing the United States is never supposed to have," he later added. "We're just not supposed to be doing that. But until we get enough members of Congress stirred up over the things that I've been preaching about then we're not likely to get answers. And the way you get their attention is start cutting funding until you get answers."
FactCheck.org noted in 2010 that the "truth about the new Ready Reserve Corps is a lot less interesting than the conspiracy theories."
Before the law was passed, the Public Health Service, unlike other elements of the government’s seven uniformed services, didn’t have a "ready reserve" – a cadre of individuals who could be called up involuntarily in times of need. What it had was a regular, full-time corps of 2,800 doctors, nurses, scientists and other medical professionals, which was the limit under law. It also had a reserve corps. But most of the individuals in the reserve corps, which was larger than the regular corps, were on extended active duty for the duration of their careers; in other words, they worked full-time, just like the regular corps, because they were needed, but the statutory cap prevented the service from bringing them into the regular corps.
The new law eliminates the personnel cap and brings the members of what used to be the reserve corps into the regular corps, which as a result now numbers about 6,600, according to an official at the Public Health Service who spoke to us on background.
And the law creates the ready reserve of individuals who can be called up for service by the U.S. surgeon general in times of need; the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is often used as an example of an incident that might trigger a call-up.
Officials at the PHS are in the process of developing regulations that will determine how the Ready Reserve Corps is populated, but the person we spoke to said there will be limits on how long individuals could serve on active duty. Those who are activated will be paid for the duration of their service, and the bill provides $12.5 million per year through 2014 for the Ready Reserve.
(h/t: Right Wing Watch)