Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw’s®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 15 No. 7 • November 2012

Oregon Police File Suit Challenging Financial Penalty for Refusing to Join “Voluntary” Wellness Program

In a suit that sounds remarkably like the challenge to the Obamacare “tax” for not buying health insurance (though this suit was filed on Feb. 14, 2012, well before the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding Obamacare), Oregon state police and corrections officers filed a class-action lawsuit against their forced participation in the Oregon state Health Engagement Model (HEM).1

The HEM requires health plan participants to fill out an extensive online questionnaire and participate in two ‘e-lessons’ that purportedly provide strategies for achieving good health. The part that has people in an uproar is the requirement that health plan participants who choose not to participate in the HEM survey must pay a $20 per month penalty if they are single and $35 a month if a couple. (Children are not included in the HEM program.) The suit argues that the HEM online questionnaire violates the Fourth Amendment as an unreasonable search and seizure and the Fifth Amendment’s due process protection of privacy and prohibition of compelled self-incrimination.

One difference between this requirement to provide personal information or pay a penalty and the Obamacare command to buy health insurance or pay a tax is that presumably Oregon state employees are not required to join the state health insurance program in the first place, whereas with Obamacare, Americans are required to buy health insurance or pay the “tax.”

We seriously doubt the suit will go anywhere on their stated legal arguments. Under administrative (regulatory) law, people are often required to provide information (such as telling the IRS where you have overseas bank accounts) that, in violation of the Fifth Amendment, requires compelled self-incrimination or (as in OSHA “inspections” of business premises) are carried out without a warrant, in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures (where searches require a court-ordered warrant). These sorts of constitutional violations by administrative agencies have, sadly, long been upheld by the courts. Hardly anybody noticed until they woke up one day and found out that they would have to buy health insurance they didn’t want or pay a “tax” on the basis (as the Supreme Court decided in the Obamacare case) that even though the Constitution doesn’t give the federal government the authority to force you to buy something, it can always require you to pay a “tax” if you don’t buy that something!


  1. Reported in the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom “Health Freedom Watch” (Second Quarter 2012).

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