Cry me a river, Aetna.

Retreating carriers whine that exchanges bruised their bottom lines; meanwhile, their profits are off the charts, thanks to … Obamacare.

So, thanks to Obama – and more specifically, Obamacare – Aetna and its competitors are rolling in the federal dough. But, because of the self-serving desire on the part of the for-profit companies' executives to exceed Wall Street's expectations every three months, they're not willing to tolerate for another New York minute an Obamacare risk pool that, in their opinion, is crowded with too many sick people. People they never wanted to insure in the first place.

You might be thinking, based on what insurance company CEOs have been saying over the past few weeks, that carriers are awash in red ink because of Obamacare and would surely go bust if they had to keep paying the medical claims of their Obamacare customers for even one more year. You might even be shedding a tear or two …

Read the Story

The Insurance Empire Strikes Back

What the insurers are implying here is that if the Obamacare marketplace doesn't "stabilize" to their satisfaction (even though the companies will still be making money hand over fist) they'll threaten to take their marbles and go home.

Read between the lines: Industry’s message is clear that obstruction of carrier mergers will mean a grim future for Obamacare’s exchanges.

If federal officials fall for Anthem’s and Aetna’s latest PR ploy to win approval of their plans to buy the companies I used to work for, I’ll offer to sell President Obama a bridge or two.

During a call with Wall Street financial analysts last week – as Anthem announced Second Quarter 2016 profits – Anthem’s CEO,

Read the Story

Seriously: Is the Public Option really an option?

The Public Option doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of being enacted, even at the state level, as long as the insurance industry and its allies are able to continue spending whatever it takes to influence both elections and public policy.

Hillary Clinton, and now President Obama, have ‘Public Option Fever.’ But is it contagious enough to overcome the power of Big Money?

Well, well, well. It seems as if the Democrats have once again come down with Public Option Fever.

Forgive me for being cynical, but folks, until we address the democracy-stifling and status-quo protecting influence of Big Money in politics in this country, the Public Option – which the health insurance industry vehemently opposes – is not going …

Read the Story

Organized Dentistry Loses Big In Another State As Propaganda Stops Working

 

In health care public policy fights, it’s very hard for an underdog to overcome a massively funded lobbying and propaganda campaign.

Today, though, the underdog is celebrating a huge win. One so big, in fact, that it most certainly will embolden groups in other states to take on the same adversary—organized dentistry.

The victory was made official this morning when Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a bill that will greatly expand access to dental care in the Green Mountain

Read the Story

US elections 2016: ‘People are attracted to Trump because he’s not taking money’

Consumer advocate Wendell Potter, co-author of Nation on the Take, explains how legislation was overturned to allow the financial corruption of US politics and what needs to be done to stop it.
Originally published by The Guardian on April 10, 2016
View the article here
Read the Story

The Lobbyist Who Made You Pay More at the Drugstore

Here’s how the pharmaceutical industry keeps America’s drug prices among the highest in the world.

The following is excerpted from Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman’s new book, Nation On the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It. You can also listen to an interview with the authors.

Bill and Faith Wildrick have never heard of Billy Tauzin, but they’re paying dearly for Tauzin’s tireless work for the pharmaceuticbal industry. So are Faith’s

Read the Story

Potter and Penniman: “The System Is Rigged Against Regular People”

In their new book, Nation on the Take, Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman portray a government and politics polluted by big corporate dollars. But the authors also offer solutions.

Few are as qualified to tackle the massive topic of money in politics as Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman. Their new book, Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy (read an excerpt), is a comprehensive and important examination of

Read the Story

Is America a ‘Nation on the Take’?

America stands at a historic crossroads. One path leads to a renewal of our Democratic ideal, the other to government by the few, the rich and the powerful. So argue Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman in their new book, “Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts our Democracy and What We Can do About It” (Bloomsbury).

Potter will be familiar to Center for Public Integrity readers as a former health insurance executive turned critic, Center columnist and

Read the Story

On Super Tuesday, a Battle Plan to Save Democracy

Nick Penniman Executive Director, Issue One and Wendell Potter Author of Nation on the Take, to be published March 1, 2016

Tens of millions of political dollars have been injected into the 13 states holding their primaries this Super Tuesday as the presidential candidates angle for the 1,639 delegates that are up for grabs. Because of such massive outlays, political spending in 2016 will likely reach $10 billion, blowing the roof off all previous records. Yet, amidst the blinding …

Read the Story