State Apologizes, Drops Bizarre Investigation of ObamaCare Flyer
Bakersfield, CA–The California Department of Insurance (CDI) has taken the unusual step of apologizing to a Bakersfield doctor for what his attorneys with Pacific Justice Institute described as an extreme example of bureaucrats run amok.
Dr. Jan Mensink and his staff were visited by CDI investigators on May 7. The investigation was purportedly sparked by a typo in a flyer distributed by the doctor about patient options under ObamaCare. Despite the minor error, the investigator demanded information on all of Dr. Mensink’s patients, suggested that Dr. Mensink should not identify himself on the internet as a Christian, and even urged him to suspend all advertising during the investigation. The lead investigator, from CDI’s Valencia office, left Dr. Mensink and his staff bewildered and provided only a business card as the sole basis for compliance with his demands.
A few days after the initial visit, Pacific Justice Institute began representing Dr. Mensink. In a phone call to PJI staff attorney Matthew McReynolds on May 15, the lead investigator confirmed that his sweeping demands were based on a typo in a flyer, while claiming that it was “uncooperative with the investigation” to even ask that such demands for documents be communicated in writing. “It was the single most bizarre conversation I’ve ever had with someone representing the government,” McReynolds noted. “It was like Barney Fife gone bad.”
After PJI sent a follow-up letter on May 19 insisting, at a minimum, that the State identify clear legal authority for its investigation, the CDI went silent until June 11. In a phone call to McReynolds, a chief investigator in the Valencia office of the CDI apologized for the conduct of its agent, promised an internal investigation, and announced the closure of Dr. Mensink’s case.
PJI president Brad Dacus expressed both jubilation and concern. “We are elated that the State has abandoned its very misguided and out-of-control investigation of Dr. Mensink,” Dacus noted. “This incident has raised serious questions about the CDI and its agents who seem to have no concept of legal bounds. We are calling on state leaders to probe the CDI to find out how something like this could happen, and what else these bureaucrats are doing to harass innocent citizens and waste taxpayer resources.”
PJI believes there may be additional victims and is interested in hearing from anyone whose free speech or religious freedom have also been threatened by the California Department of Insurance.
Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit legal organization dedicated to defending religious, parental, and other constitutional rights.
P.O. Box 276600 Sacramento, CA 95827-6600
Phone: (916) 857-6900, Fax: (916) 857-6902