Pay Much Attention to the Insurers Behind the Curtain

Democrats who think Paul Ryan and his Republican colleagues have foolishly wrapped their arms around the third rail of American politics by proposing to hand the Medicare program to private insurers will themselves look foolish if they take for granted that the public will always be on their side.

Rep. Ryan’s budget proposal would radically reshape both the Medicare and Medicaid programs. It would turn Medicaid into a block grant, which would give states more discretion over benefits and eligibility. …

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N.C. Consumer Advocates Seeing Red Over Bait and Switch by One of the Blues

RALEIGH, N.C. — Health insurers are demonstrating once again — this time in state capitals — that they cannot be trusted to do the right thing for consumers when health care reform is up for debate.

President Obama and Congressional leaders learned the hard way that insurance executives were playing them like a Stradivarius in promising to be good-faith partners on reform. In the end, though, the politicians realized that insurers had been carrying out a duplicitous PR strategy from …

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The Insurers’ Real Agenda for Change

The media had lots of health care news to obsess about last week. A federal judge ruled the health care reform law unconstitutional, and Senate Republicans tried in vain to repeal the law. But most of the press paid virtually no attention to a potentially much more important development — a multi-pronged effort by five major insurers to strip from the law key regulations and consumer protections that aren’t to their liking.

The insurers do not want the bill repealed …

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‘Friendly Reminder’: Fox’s Unbalanced Ethics Threatens Democracy

Faux News
Image copyright P. Thompson (fauxnewschannel.com)

Anyone who still clings to the notion that Fox News is actually a news organization rather than a propaganda machine for special interests — and that it actually is led by journalists who adhere to the code of ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists — must read the leaked memos Media Matters for America disclosed this morning.

Under the heading of “Fox boss caught slanting news reporting,” Media Matters shared on its …

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Must ‘Ethical PR’ be an Oxymoron, Richard Edelman?

[Cross-posted on PRWatch.org, HuffingtonPost.com, and DailyKos.com.]

A few days ago, the Sammie Lynn Puett Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) invited me to speak at the University of Tennessee’s PR Day. It was more of an honor to be asked than the students will ever know. I don’t think many of them knew I was a charter member of that PRSSA chapter back in the ’70s and that Sammie Lynn Puett, a revered figure on campus …

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My Apologies to Michael Moore and the Health Insurance Industry

Alex Potter, Michael Moore, Wendell Potter
(L-R) Alex Potter, Michael Moore and Wendell Potter at the official U.S. premiere of Sicko, June 16, 2007

In advance of my appearance with Michael Moore on Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight on MSNBC (8 and 11 p.m. ET), I would like to offer an apology to both Moore and his archenemy, the health insurance industry, which spent a lot of policyholder premiums in 2007 to attack his movie, Sicko.

I need to apologize to Moore for the role …

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Why I Will Stay Far Away From Cliffs From Now on

“My name is Wendell Potter, and for twenty years, I worked as a senior executive at health insurance companies, and I saw how they confuse their customers and dump the sick — all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors.”

That’s how I introduced myself to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee on June 24, 2009, and also how I began the first chapter of my book, Deadly Spin, which is out today.

I set fire to a lot …

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Breaking News: Insurance Industry Launders $10M to $20M in Attack Ads

This is a special alert about breaking news showing that health insurance companies secretly gave the Chamber of Commerce millions of dollars to run third-party attack ads at the same time they were telling Congress they continued to “strongly support reform.” On the one hand, we’re not surprised, but on the other hand, we’re outraged by the lies and deception that have been documented.

The new story in the National Journal proves what I have been talking about, since I …

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