When voluntary is no longer voluntary/Wellness Programs

Man talking with female doctoEmployers can now force employees to take work-sponsored health assessments and biometric screenings against their will, a federal judge in Madison, Wisconsin has ruled.

The ruling in the case of Dale Arnold, an employee for plastics maker Flambeau, overturned a ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which had previously determined Flambeau’s wellness program did not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s just the latest in a series of losses in federal court by employees who can now be penalized under the color of law for desiring to keep their privacy and individual sovereignty and for what they choose to do on their own time.

Language in the ADA limits companies from requiring medical exams or personal health information from workers. But in a fascist and oligarchic system where government controls the insurance and medical cartels and seeks to control all aspect of the people’s lives, the “law” is of little consequence when the government sees an opportunity to grasp more power.

Arnold took his case to the EEOC after Flambeau revoked his health insurance coverage when he refused to participated in the company’s “voluntary” work-sponsored health assessment and biometric screen. Flambeau uses its “voluntary” employee wellness program to cut insurance costs by encouraging healthy employee habits. To participate, employees submitted to on-site tests of blood pressure, body mass and cholesterol. That information was then stored in a database used by the insurance company and employer.

Companies are devising wellness programs in a self-defense move designed at curbing rising health insurance costs. Obamacare requires an extensive database of health information to be collected to be used to determine what treatments and drugs it will approve and the payment schedule it will use. Obamacare and other federal and state regulations on health coverage have driven insurance premiums and deductibles through the roof.

And with Obamacare regulations requiring everyone to carry some type of insurance, employees who are dropped from their employer-based coverage are forced into hyper-expensive COBRA plans or onto expensive, inadequate and/or limited choice Obamacare plans.

That government control of health insurance is destroying privacy rights and individual liberty is no surprise to many of us. In fact, I warned this was coming three years ago in “CVS demonstrates your future under Obamacare.” I wrote:

Now, legal drug pusher CVS Caremark pharmacy is telling its employees they must report specific personal health information or pay an extra $600 per year for their health insurance coverage.

Among the measures employees are required to report are their weight, body fat, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Employees must also be tobacco-free or enroll in an addiction program.

“These changes aren’t just about costs, they’re about us, each of us taking personal accountability for our own health,” said Lisa Bissacia, CVS senior vice president and chief human resources officer, in a recorded video released by the company.

The irony that a company that peddles to an unsuspecting public pharmaceuticals with a list of side effects as long as your arm and responsible for millions of adverse reaction events and 106,000 deaths annually would actually be concerned about their employees’ health is no doubt lost on Bissacia. On top of that, such a policy is an egregious violation of the employees’ rights.

Employment lawyers predicted that CVS’s wellness program would not stand legal scrutiny. But at the time I wrote:

With government running healthcare, expect programs like this to expand and the information to be used to force behavior modifications for everyone forced to buy into Obamacare.

Now we are there. Next step is a corporate/government mandate to “treat” all diseases and conditions found through the “voluntary” wellness screening with drugs and surgeries under penalties of loss of insurance, loss of work, fines and/or imprisonment. Never mind that orthodox medicine in the U.S. kills more than 200,000 people each year.

Health insurance is and always has been a scam anyway, and Big Insurance and government interference in the medical market combined to drive the prices of health insurance and health services up to stratospheric levels.

None of this would be a problem without government meddling. People should be buying medical services they need straight from doctors and hospitals at market prices, not through a third party insurer or — especially — through government.

If health insurance is necessary, it should be sold in a free market, across state lines, without onerous government coverage mandates, and insurers should be free to tailor plans for individuals and families.

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