Wendell Potter's Defection From Health-Care Industry PR...
The name Wendell Potter has begun to pop up here and there in the national media and in political debates, almost like a metaphor. The former health-insurance insider testified before the Senate about his industry’s influence on public policy in 2009, and two months ago released a book, a personal memoir of the life of a health-insurance-industry flack, offering an unusual glimpse into the inner workings of an effective propaganda machine. ...
Potter claims insurance companies were deliberately responsible for twisting the public dialogue of the health-care debate, secretly backing “grassroots” organizations of citizens angered and mobilized by exaggerations and distortions. He includes, specifically, the tea party movement as a spawn of insurance-company propaganda, quoting figures concocted by insurance-company consultants. He cites some specific rhetoric concerning “death panels” and “government takeover” and “socialism” as useful parts of an anti-reform “playbook.” He knows, he says, because he wrote some of that playbook himself.
As the top publicity executive for CIGNA, one of the giants of America’s health-insurance industry, Potter was, until his quiet resignation in 2008, one of the industry’s chief propagandists in the fight against sweeping health-care reform.
Over a period of two years, from 2007 to 2009, Potter says insurance companies and HMOs spent $586 million, derived from customers’ premiums, in political contributions and lobbying expenses, most of it to attack health-care reform.
Perhaps the height of that absurdity was the insurance industry’s frantic response to one motion picture. Long before the popular release of Michael Moore’s pointed but sometimes loony documentary Sicko in 2007, insurance companies were making elaborate preparations for a response.
As wasteful and tyrannical as critics say a government-controlled health-care system would be, Potter claims it’s already that bad, and often worse, at the hands of the private insurers he used to work for.
FULL STORY: http://www.metropulse.com/news/2011/jan/12/wendell-potters-defection-health-care-pr/