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Health Care Insider Turns Whistle Blower - READ NOW

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posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 08:21 AM

The former mouthpiece for insurance giant Cigna divulges his role in misleading the public, the emotional day that led to his whistle-blowing, and what should really scare you.

In June 2007, Wendell Potter was head of corporate communications at Cigna, one of the largest health insurance companies in America, when he attended the U.S. premiere of Michael Moore’s Sicko. Potter was part of the team charged with discrediting Moore’s film, which advance word said was highly critical of the health insurance industry. Potter “sat quietly in the back and took notes,” but soon realized he had a problem. “When I saw the movie, I’ll be honest: I thought it was a real good documentary. I knew from my own studies of other healthcare systems that it was an accurate portrayal of those systems and how they are able to provide universal coverage.” Yet he was being paid by Cigna to tell people the opposite, that the film was full of lies.

Just a few weeks later, Potter, who is from Tennessee, read in a local paper about a free healthcare expedition being held in Wise County, Virginia. He decided to check it out. Walking through the fairground gates, Potter saw hundreds of people waiting in the rain while physicians attended to patients in animal stalls or on gurneys lying on the rain-soaked pavement. Tents had been pitched across the fairground lawns, creating a scene “like something that could’ve been happening on a battlefield or in a war-torn country.” Tears mixed with the rain to cloud Potter’s vision. “What I thought was: ‘Is this the United States?’ It was so remote from my reality. It just seemed impossible.”

In months and years prior, Potter had grown increasingly skeptical about his job as chief spokesman for Cigna. Though he insists he never intentionally lied to a reporter, he began to spout what he thought were either misleading or less than honest statements. Moreover, his job required him to hype new programs he felt were not in the best interest of patients or the U.S. healthcare system—particularly when it came to high-deductible, or “consumer driven” plans. He came to feel he was on the wrong side of the healthcare debate and would catch himself gazing into a mirror, wondering, “Who is this? How did this happen to me?” After Sicko and Wise County, he resigned.

Since then, Potter has become an outspoken advocate for healthcare reform. Why reform? Because of statistics like these: The U.S. healthcare system is the most expensive in the world, with each person spending more than twice as much on care than people in other industrialized nations. Yet our system ranks 29th in infant mortality, 28th in healthy life expectancy, and 37th overall. In June, Potter testified before the Senate on the devastating effects that Wall Street has on our healthcare system. The overwhelming demand to satisfy investors, Potter told the committee, is what causes insurance companies to “confuse their customers and dump the sick.”

With twenty years of industry experience—he was head of corporate communications with Humana before moving on to Cigna—Potter is an important voice in the healthcare debate. As a former insider, he is uniquely positioned to reveal the industry’s secrets, like its obsession with the medical-loss ratio—the difference between what health insurance companies pay out in claims and what it has left over—which, Potter says, causes otherwise good people in the industry to allow patients to die in order to increase profits. Yet in another sense, Potter is not so unique. We’ve seen them before, former insiders who reap huge financial benefits from an industry or system only to publicly denigrate it years later. If things were so bad, we’re left wondering, why didn’t Potter say something earlier? I recently spoke with Potter by phone.

The interview is very long and you should take the time to read it.
This man reveals the truth about how the companies pay bribes to officials and other companies to do what they want. They create opposition groups and debunkers to sway public opinion and have been doing so for a very long time.

Read the whole article here:

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 08:27 AM
reply to post by warrenb

Does this surprise you? This isn't really all that scary unless you thought that the medical insurance racket was an honest business. I have to imagine that this thing happens in most multi billion dollar industries where it would be cheaper to pay bribes and fines than it is to do things honestly.

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 08:33 AM
reply to post by Karlhungis

I'm pointing out the fact that someone in the business is speaking out on these facts that we already suspected and knew. Therefore vindicating the theories as truth.

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 08:48 AM
I'm sorry but I see nothing suprising or news-worthy here. What exactly is he blowing the whistle on - that the insurance companies turn a profit and he doesn't like it!?!? Sorry, we all already knew that!

Look, there is no question that healthcare must be reformed - NOT transformed as the liberals are prescribing. I, along with the majority of Americans, do NOT want the government running our healthcare system. There is very little that the government does satisfactorily, let alone the right way. So, let's focus on fixing what is broken with the current system rather than replacing with a government run system that will likely become more costly and broken than the current one.

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 08:52 AM
No surprise here, big for profit and private companies and politicians are the same, they all selling big ideas and promises with littler or not means to deliver.

If people have not learned that by now then they are really and truly ignorants.

No wonder when this private crocks and politicians whispers nice words in the people ears they fall for them.

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 09:00 AM
Nope, doesn't surprise me in the least. The fact is, the Insurance Lobby, coupled with the Pharmaceutical Lobby are pouring billions of dollars into the effort, and in the end, corporations will be deciding what medicine you get, and what doctor you see, and whether you need a doctor anyway. Doctors will not have a say in this. The "plan" will me mandatory, and expensive, and it will have access to your bank account and the ability to withdraw premiums at will.

The sad thing is the American Government is going about this is the wrong way, in my considered opinion. We already have Medicare. Medicare is not-for-profit, and government run. They hardly make a mistake, and runs smoothly as a well oiled machine. Why not just put everyone on that plan, instead of creating a monster that nobody wants, or can afford?
My Medicare costs $60 a month, I have full coverage, including prescriptions, I can go to any doctor, any hospital in any State, and get any available service. Medicare pays $0.80 on the dollar, the rest is up to me, Welfare will pay this, or I can get a supplemental insurance policy to do this. Cheap, efficient, and government ran, and no insurance man tells me who or what I can do.

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 09:03 AM
As soon as I saw Michael Moore's name I quit reading. Thanks anyway.

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 09:05 AM
reply to post by warrenb

I think this is important.
We can argue about whether health care and health insurance should be profit-making.
That doesn't mean they should lie to the public.
That's what this site is about. People in the public eye who are being dishonest. That's what we're trying to change.
It sounds to me like this guy is doing valuable work.

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 09:10 AM
reply to post by autowrench

Actually medicare and medicaid is one of the most corrupted systems run by goverment in the nation.

No only they force the working class to pay for it in the way of taxes forced with not choice but the system is full of corruption and mismanagment.

Thanks to medicare and medicaid the biggest fraud comes from big pharma to keep feeding tax payer money for drug control.

Republicans like the bush family has been the ones to give them the best deals at the expenses of tax payer money in return for "soft campaign money".

Top officials from drug maker Merck and PhRMA sat on advisory committees shaping the administration’s health care policies since 92 and they got more power since 2002, including its virulent opposition to regulating prescription medicine prices throught medicare and medicaid plans during Bush medicare reform.

Even Obama has been sleeping with big pharma since before taking office making deals for his health care reform.

Medicare is a joke play at the expenses of the needy in the nation and the tax payer.

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 09:11 AM
I agree with the other posters who want REFORM of the current system, to me this thread points out that the insurance coompanies and lets not forget big pharma both need to be rained in. I think that where the right and left arguement is getting lost. They hear the MSM and Politicians use the word REFORM and think GOV healthcare is the answer... Keep your eyes on the ball, REFORM means fix the current problems by forcing the insurance and big pharma to reduce cost and cover those who have pre-exisiting conditions.

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 09:15 AM
Doctors need to be paid to heal people. They should not continue to be paid to PERFORM PROCEDURES.

This article lays out the dirty dealing done by the insurance companies. How can anyone find fault with that? I mean and keep a straight face.

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 09:26 AM
reply to post by warrenb

You know warren this is nothing new to say the least.I am one of those people he talks about that is hung out to dry when the benefits run out or don’t pay well enough.

In late May of 2008 I became severely ill. I kept getting terribly dizzy, sick to my stomach and had no balance at all. By the end of May my head was in so much pain I couldn't’t stand up straight or see but a blur and my arms had gone totally numb; about three days later my hands rolled up as if I had a severe deformity. Of course my hub rushed me in and I under went the first of many tests. Let me give you a little list of what happened first:

I had more than 2 dozen blood tests in a 3 month period.
I had three sets of X-rays taken of my chest cavity ( there where 4 to 5 of each)
Had 2- 45 minute MRI’s with contrast
Had another ct scan with contrast took about 30 minutes (first one was 15 minutes at another hospital that told me of fluid in the base of my skull)
Was dosed up on my epilepsy meds to 1200 mg of tegratol and 4 mg-6mg of klonopin a day (they couldn't’t stop the constant seizures I would have when I finally would just pass out from total exhaustion)

Then when I lost the feeling in my legs and couldn't’t move for 4 hours in screaming pain. They put me in another MRI with contrast for well over an hour. (Still claiming nothing could be found mind you)

Then they played off my not being able to stand or walk with out falling over or passing out as a side effect of the meds.
My low oxygen level in my blood and sudden onset of low blood pressure was also from the stress and the meds. ( you ever seen black blood come out of a person? The lab tech let go of the syringe and demanded help, then refused to touch me!!!! )

Now mind you by this time I had been TOTALLY bed ridden for well over 30 days.The only time I got out of the house was when my husband carried me to the truck to go in to the hospital.

If I had to get to the rest room to get sick I rolled off my bed onto a pile of pillows and crawled to the restroom. (Less than five feet) I ate lying down on my side when I could stand it.

This was it for my husband and he got real stern with the doctor which did not’t go over well. He gave him 72 hours to come up with the truth or give me a pass to Stanford Medical Center.(you have to be referred to the epilepsy center there)

I called in for the latest test results and talked to the nurse I have known for years. She told me I had a blood vessel in my head that had leaked and was causing fluid build up. I needed to try and go somewhere else and not tell them I had been seen already. (They wanted cash didn't happen)
I was called back and asked to have my husband bring me in and pick up arm braces for me to wear. The shock test had revealed severe nerve damage to my arms and legs.
They ended up being the metal kind that don’t allow your arms to move. They set them so I could not even bend my arms period.( That was day two)
So day three comes around and we are back in the doc’s office. He then tells us I have acid reflux and he isn’t going to give me a pass to Stanford for any testing because I am out of benefits!

Yeah they kept me strung along till it had healed well enough to not kill me. NEVER once did the DOCTOR tell me what had really happened. I could have easily died from a clot and a host of other complications due to what had really happened.

The insurance industry needs one MAJOR overhaul! There is no mistaking it.
I have yet to be back to normal after all this time I still have low blood oxygen and low blood pressure. I still can’t eat right 70% of the time. My arms are still to this day constantly going numb when I try and use them. They are numb and I cant feel my fingers just from typing this!
The meds got cut back by my new doctor because they aren’t working anyway.
My NEW way to get over “it” is to get to Stanford and have brain surgery! It requires me to get a implant in my brain to send shocks to the damaged nerves. Only problem is I have to be in good health and able to be AWAKE when they cut open the back of my skull and move the wires around till they get them in the proper places. YEAH RIGHT!

ALL of which could have been avoided if he had just admitted me for 3-5 days and gave me the proper medicine that costs a lot of money.

These people who run these big health facilities need to be set straight and held accountable for what they are doing to people. I am glad this guy had the guts to stand up and say something! I don't care how long it took him or what his reasons are he DID IT and that is all that matters in my book!

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 09:34 AM
reply to post by xoxo stacie

Bless you stacie,

My also feel that what we need is to fix the problem with have with the health care system, the private and big pharma, they need regulation not more means to profit.

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 09:42 AM
reply to post by l_e_cox

I agree. While we suspect the corruption of Pharma and insurance companies, any information from "insiders" is much appreciated to confirm what we already believe. The more this kind of stuff come out, the more likely that something will be done about it.

Great thread, warrenb!

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 09:46 AM
The answer is so simple that it escapes even the simpletons in Washington - mandate that all health insurance companies operate as non-profits. Mandate that all hospital systems, not individual hospitals, but the systems, operate as non-profits. Do the same for the Pharmaceutical companies - force them to reinvest every penny they earn into the system. Eliminate the state-by-state mandates set up against insurers and allow them to compete nation-wide. Pass laws against waiting periods and pre-existing disclaimers. And pass laws against dropping patients who are diagnosed with "Expensive" procedures. Enact sweeping Tort reform and ensure that patients filing frivilous lawsuits pay not only the defenses legal bills, but massive fines into an account that can be used to provide insurance to the uninsured. Move Medicare and Medicaid into the non-profit private sector insurance companies and force them to compete to win 2 contracts with the government.

Those few things would immediately begin cutting the deadwood out of this badly broken system. But, did you notice something - nowhere in there the does the government run healthcare.

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 12:44 PM
reply to post by warrenb

Sure, insurance companies lie and aren't fair. But, still, I trust them more than I do the government to run anything. Potter became a shill for leftists such as Michael Moore and Bill Moyers. However, they lie also.

Moore claims that the existence of fire departments, police, and the post office are evidence that socialized services do not lead to Communism and are good things. However, most of the services he mentions are run locally and the ones that have been run nationally are broke (e.g., the post office).

And if I hear one more time that "47 million" are uninsured I am going to gag. That's code language for "I want Americans' tax dollars to pay for health care for illegal aliens."

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 12:45 PM
reply to post by kozmo

Wouldn't that put health insurers out of business? Who wants to work without making a profit? Do you? Please come paint my house for free and I will provide the materials! LOL.

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