Health Insurance Whistleblower Speaks in LV - WFMZ 69 News
April 2, 2012 | WFMZ 69 News | Link to article
It was Dante who wrote that "the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises remain neutral."
While many things can be said about Wendell Potter, remaining neutral about mandatory health care insurance for all Americans is not one.
Unlike hundreds of millions of Americans who have formed an opinion on the controversial Affordable Health Care Act now before the United State Supreme Court, almost none can offer the perspective Potter does.
"You all heard about how the health insurance law will lead to a government takeover of the health insurance industry," he told a crowd assembled Thursday night at the United Church of Christ in South Whitehall. "It's a lie. How do I know? Because I'm the one who came up with it."
As the former head of corporate communications for health-insurance giant Cigna, Potter said he was paid handsomely to manipulate the public and press in a massive campaign to defraud mandatory health insurance coverage for all Americans for the simplest of all reasons.
"Profits," he said.
Death panels, Medicare cuts, declining employment and socialized medicine - you can thank Potter for it.
"It was me and people like me who concocted these stories to manipulate you," he said.
The paychecks Potter takes home these days are a lot less than the ones at Cigna, but then again, the company could afford to pay him well.
"During 2008 Cigna recorded a 346 percent profit," he said with a serene candor Thursday night that left some in the audience gasping.
He attributed those profits not to business acumen, but rather an unrelenting desire to make their bottom line attractive to Wall Street investors at the expense of Americans' health.
Potter became a whistle-blower against the health-insurance industry gradually, although his moment of decision, as he called it, came over two incidents, including the 2007 case of 17-year-old Natlie Sarkisyan, who died shortly after Cigna initially denied her coverage for a liver transplant as a result of cancer.
"It got to the point where I was utterly disgusted with myself," he said.
But his presentation Thursday night was not so much about the past or even any personal experiences as it was a plea for the crowd to understand "the importance of protecting the new health care law, Medicare and Medicaid."
The laws, he said during his roughly 45-minute speech, hold health insurance companies accountable, make health care more affordable, stabilize the nation's economy and will not increase the nation's deficit.
"The insurance industry and their cronies will do whatever it can to maintain their massive profits," he said during speech to discredit any meaningful reform, including the corruption of members of Congress and even the nation's highest court.