Former Exec tells Bill Moyers – insurance industry developed campaign against Michael Moore’s Sicko

July 12, 2009

US (ChattahBox) – Wendell Potter is a former head of corporate communications for the insurance super-giant CIGNA, who left the industry after 15 years to become an activist for free heath care. He spoke to Bill Moyers on his PBS show in what was an intense discussion on the policies of the insurance company and public health care, offering coverage, making profits, and dealing with filmmaker Michael Moore.

According to Potter in his July 10, 2009 interview, he had been in the insurance industry within the highest ranks of PR, but despite this he had never really clicked with the information on the millions of uninsured during that time. He says that it wasn’t until he went to a open health event at a fairgrounds that he really realized the scale of the problem.

From the official transcript of the episode, found here:

“But what I saw were doctors who were set up to provide care in animal stalls. Or they’d erected tents, to care for people. I mean, there was no privacy. In some cases– and I’ve got some pictures of people being treated on gurneys, on rain-soaked pavement.

And I saw people lined up, standing in line or sitting in these long, long lines, waiting to get care. People drove from South Carolina and Georgia and Kentucky, Tennessee– all over the region, because they knew that this was being done. A lot of them heard about it from word of mouth.

There could have been people and probably were people that I had grown up with. They could have been people who grew up at the house down the road, in the house down the road from me. And that made it real to me. “

It was a few weeks later that he left the company, retiring on good terms with his bosses and fellow employees. Little did they know that he would come forward with this information. But when asked why it took him two years to do so, Potter admitted:

“I didn’t intend to, until it became really clear to me that the industry is resorting to the same tactics they’ve used over the years, and particularly back in the early ’90s, when they were leading the effort to kill the Clinton plan.”

On the insurance companies and public health care systems:

“The industry has always tried to make Americans think that government-run systems are the worst thing that could possibly happen to them, that if you even consider that, you’re heading down on the slippery slope towards socialism. So they have used scare tactics for years and years and years, to keep that from happening. If there were a broader program like our Medicare program, it could potentially reduce the profits of these big companies. So that is their biggest concern.”

On Michael Moore’s movie ‘Sicko’, which evidence has shown that the insurance lobbyists worked to have discredited, including by using threats to politicians:

“I thought that he hit the nail on the head with his movie. But the industry, from the moment that the industry learned that Michael Moore was taking on the health care industry, it was really concerned.”

What does he want people to take from ‘Sicko’, and from the knowledge that the insurance companies are the ones running the health care show?:

“That we shouldn’t fear government involvement in our health care system. That there is an appropriate role for government, and it’s been proven in the countries that were in that movie.

You know, we have more people who are uninsured in this country than the entire population of Canada. And that if you include the people who are underinsured, more people than in the United Kingdom. We have huge numbers of people who are also just a lay-off away from joining the ranks of the uninsured, or being purged by their insurance company, and winding up there.

And another thing is that the advocates of reform or the opponents of reform are those who are saying that we need to be careful about what we do here, because we don’t want the government to take away your choice of a health plan. It’s more likely that your employer and your insurer is going to switch you from a plan that you’re in now to one that you don’t want. You might be in the plan you like now.

But chances are, pretty soon, you’re going to be enrolled in one of these high deductible plans in which you’re going to find that much more of the cost is being shifted to you than you ever imagined. “


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    Twitter Wars!! Why does director Sandra Mohr have twice as many Twitter followers as Michael Moore? Twitter Wars article here: http://www.prlog.org/10281312-twitter-wars-michael-moore-gets-blitzed-by-filmmaker-sandra-mohr.html

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