OpEdNews Op Eds

Rally Against Wall Street's Health Care Takeover

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 4 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 2   Well Said 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 9/2/09

Tuesday 01 September 2009

by: Wendell Potter | Visit article original @ Common Dreams

Organizations rally in support of a public health insurance option.

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 the role I played 15 years ago in cheating you out of a reformed health care system. Had it not been for greedy insurance companies and other special interests, and their army of lobbyists and spin-doctors like I used to be, we wouldn't be here today.

I'm ashamed that I let myself get caught up in deceitful and dishonest PR campaigns that worked so well, hundreds of thousands of our citizens have died, and millions of others have lost their homes and been forced into bankruptcy, so that a very few corporate executives and their Wall Street masters could become obscenely rich.


But It was only during the last few years of my career that I came to realize the full scope of the harm my colleagues and I had caused, and the lengths that insurance companies will go to increase their profits at the expense of working families.

As I told the Senate Commerce Committee two months ago, the higher up the corporate ladder I climbed, the more I could see how insurance companies confuse their customers and dump the sick - all so they can satisfy those Wall Street masters.

I described for the senators how insurers make promises they have no intention of keeping, how they flout regulations designed to protect consumers, and how they make it nearly impossible to understand - or even to obtain - information consumers need.

I also told the Committee how the industry has conducted duplicitous and well-financed PR and lobbying campaigns every time Congress has tried to reform our health care system - and how its current behind-scenes-efforts may well shape reform in a way that benefits Wall Street far more than average Americans.

I noted that, just as the industry did 15 years ago when it led the effort to kill the Clinton reform plan, it is using shills and front groups to spread lies and disinformation to scare Americans away from the very reform that would benefit them most.

Make no mistake, the industry, despite its public assurances to be good-faith partners with the President and Congress, has been at work for years laying the groundwork for devious and often sinister campaigns to manipulate public opinion.

The industry goes to great lengths to keep its involvement in these campaigns hidden from public view. But I know from having served on many trade group committees that industry leaders are always full partners in developing strategies to derail any reform that might interfere with their ability to increase their companies' profits.

My involvement in those activities goes back to the early '90s when insurers joined with other special interests to finance the activities of an organization called the Healthcare Leadership Council, which led a coordinated effort to scare Americans and members of Congress away from the Clinton plan.

A few years after that victory, the insurers formed a front group called the Health Benefits Coalition to kill efforts to pass a Patients Bill of Rights. While it was touted as a broad-based business group, the Health Benefits Coalition in reality got the lion's share of its funding from Big Insurance.

Like most front groups, the Health Benefits Coalition was set up and run out of a big and well-connected PR firm. One of the key strategies developed by the PR firm as the coalition was gearing up for battle in late 1998 was to stir up support among conservative talk radio hosts and other media.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4

 

for 20 years, Wendell Potter worked as a senior executive at health insurance companies, and saw how they confuse their customers and dump the sick -- all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors.
Wendell Potter is an Analyst at the Center for Public Integrity; Former insurance company executive; Author of Deadly (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Health Insurance Exec Whistleblower Wendell Potter Testifies Before Congress

Does the U.S. Have the World's Best Health Care System? Yes, If You're Talking About the Third World

Ryan's Medicare Plan Would Be a Windfall for Insurance Companies

Fresh Evidence That Health Insurers Value Profits Over People

The Insurers' Real Agenda for Change

Keep Nataline's Spirit of Christmas Alive

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
No comments