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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/15/11

CIGNA Whistleblower on GOP's Repeal Smokescreen & How It Is Providing Cover for Insurance Companies

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He thinks attention should be paid to Vermont, where a governor who favors single payer was elected. He says watch Connecticut, which might try to create a public option in for its state residents.

What Single Payer Supporters Can Learn from Private Insurance

Potter implicitly addresses the struggle that single payer supporters have had in trying to convince Americans that Medicare should be expanded to cover all Americans and health care should no longer be plagued by all the problems that come from it being a for-profit system.

He says he has told progressives they need to understand "The Playbook," a chapter in his book that illuminates the tactics insurance companies use to win people over to their agenda. He believes progressives need to develop a strategy and be sophisticated if they hope to compete against the industry.

"In the corporate world, you do everything with a strategy. Nothing gets approved unless there's a business plan and it has to be a well-thought out strategy," explains Potter. "Progressives don't come out of the corporate world and they don't think and act that way. That is I think to their detriment."

"You've got to understand--to them everything is at stake and they play to win," states Potter.

Potter doesn't mention how progressives were divided between single payer and a public option, but, certainly that division didn't help progressives get any closer to winning victories during the reform process. Progressives compromised early in the game. They didn't play to win like the insurance companies and that is probably why insurance is positioned to win more from this legislation than the people whose discontent actually pushed politicians to begin to consider passing reform legislation.

Progressives might want to consider Potter's suggestion that they hold focus groups and conduct message research. If anything, it would lead those who are waging campaigns for Medicare for All to understand what Americans want from their insurance provider. It would make it possible for advocates to piece together a case demonstrating how insurance companies cannot be trusted to not exploit them.

Rating the Obama Administration's Spin

Noticeably stunned, Potter says, "I kept waiting for the Administration to really have some kind of a communications strategy but it never seemed to materialize at all. I was just certain the guy that was running for president--a really great communicator--that he would come out to sell a comprehensive health reform package. But that never happened."

While Potter doesn't make this conclusion, his failure may relate less to Obama's ability to sell a reform package and more to the power of Wall Street over politics in Washington. That President Obama and Democrats were willing to mount an inept and insufficient campaign for health care to preserve the possibility of getting insurance industry money in future elections is likely why liberals and progressives saw such poor communication on the part of the Administration.

In conclusion, Potter explains, "What has happened to our health insurance system in particular health insurance part of it is it has become more controlled by Wall Street as companies have converted from nonprofit to for profit status. So you have a system that really is now controlled largely by Wall Street and, in fact, a counter that I've used to those who've said this is a government takeover of the healthcare system is, "No, but what we have had is a corporate takeover of the healthcare system," and it really is that."

Those who followed the process closely might also say there has been a corporate takeover of Washington, a reality that makes the prospect of addressing any problems the people face bleak.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for
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