Insurers Lobbying on the Fine Print May Erase Consumer Protections

One of the provisions of the health reform law that insurers hate most requires that they spend at least 80 percent of what we pay them in premiums for actual medical care. That provision alone is a major reason why insurance companies and their allies invested so heavily in Republican candidates last year.

The insurers knew that if their candidates won—and most of them did—they would have a better than even chance of getting Congress to weaken that provision to …

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Edelman’s Glass House

Edelman logoOver Thanksgiving week, the head of the global PR firm Edelman publicly complained about my tough critique of the damage the PR industry has done through campaigns that deceive consumers.

On the one hand, I was a bit surpised by Edelman’s rather absurd claim that I had “no right to say” that big PR firms have a reputation for deceiving people, and that I should not have called into question the (profit) motive of PR practitioners who are really just …

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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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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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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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