Wendell Potter: How Corporate PR Works to Kill Health Care Reform

September 14th I addressed a gathering at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC and delivered these remarks:

It is easy to think of efforts to influence lawmakers as the exclusive domain of K Street lobbyists. Much has been said and written about the millions of dollars the special interests are spending on lobbying activities and the hundreds of lobbyists who are at work as we speak trying to shape health care reform legislation. Very little by comparison has …

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Wendell Potter: Rally Against Wall Street’s Health Care Takeover

Saturday, August 29 I had the good fortune to speak at a community rally for health care reform in a city park in downtown Portland, Oregon. It was a broad-based and diverse group with many signs and placards supporting the ‘public option’ being debated by Congress, and others calling for ‘single payer’ reform like that working effectively in other countries such as Canada. Here is what I said:

I would like to begin by apologizing to all of you for …

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Wendell Potter Warns: Co-op Kool-Aid Is Bad for Your Health

I’m beginning to think that the Kool-Aid being served at meetings of the Senate Finance Committee’s soon-to-be infamous Gang of Six is coming from either fantasy land or the health insurance industry.

For those of you who might not be following the sorry machinations of health care reform in the Senate Finance Committee, the Gang of Six is a group of three Democrats and three Republicans hand-picked by Committee Chair Max Baucus, who is one of the three Democrats. The …

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An Open Letter to Nancy-Ann DeParle

ATTN: Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director of the White House Office of Reform

Dear Nancy-Ann,

First, forgive me for being familiar, but we were introduced by our mutual friend, Scott Lucas, at a University of Tennessee Torchbearers’ reunion in Knoxville about 25 years ago. I’m confident that neither of us could have imagined that we would be advocates for health care reform two and a half decades later.

I am writing to invite you and, if their schedules permit, President Obama and …

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President Obama and Congress: If You Missed Wise County, Join Me in L.A.

The insurance industry, its business allies and its shills in Congress are doing their best once again to scare us away from real health care reform, just as they did 15 years ago. Using the same tactics and language they did then, insurers and their cronies are warning us that America will be sliding down a slippery slope toward socialism if the federal government creates a public insurance option to compete with the cartel of huge for-profit companies that now …

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Wendell Potter to Congress: Go Ahead, Please Make Our Day

Politico is reporting that Congressional Republicans want to force their colleagues in the House and Senate who vote for a public insurance option as part of health care reform to enroll in that public plan when it becomes available.

I think Democrats ought to call their bluff and pledge to be the first to sign up. If they do, they will have to shove me out of line. I would love to have the option of enrolling in a public …

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The Ultimate Irony: Health Care Industry Adopts Big Tobacco’s PR Tactics

At first look, one might not think that the health insurance industry has much in common with the tobacco industry. After all, one sells a product that kills people and the other sells a product nominally aimed at putting people back together. But when it comes to deceitful public relations techniques, the health insurance industry has been learning well from Big Tobacco, which employed a panoply of shady but highly successful public relations tactics to fend off changes to its …

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Why Do We Need Health Care Reform? Don’t Ask George Will

One of the things I hope to do with my blog is to call out misleading statements and statistics, outright lies and illogical assertions by opponents of meaningful health care reform—and to rat out the front groups that insurers and other special interests are funding to kill reform or, failing that, shape it to their benefit.

I’m starting with a biggie, conservative author and columnist George Will, who suggests in his June 28 column in The Washington Post that, because …

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Obama’s False Friends of Health Reform

I’m hoping President Obama realizes that some of the folks who’ve been currying favor with him are not, as they claim, bringing “solutions” to the health care reform table. Most Americans — especially those who voted for him — want nothing to do with the kind of “reforms” they are peddling.

If you watched the president’s televised Q&A on ABC last Wednesday night, you probably noticed that one of the people in the audience was Ron Williams, the chairman and …

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The Health Care Industry vs. Health Reform

I’m the former insurance industry insider now speaking out about how big for-profit insurers have hijacked our health care system and turned it into a giant ATM for Wall Street investors, and how the industry is using its massive wealth and influence to determine what is (and is not) included in the health care reform legislation members of Congress are now writing.

Although by most measures I had a great career in the insurance industry (four years at Humana and …

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