Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Making of a Health-Care Whistle-Blower

Wendell Potter may be the ideal whistle-blower. The former head of corporate
communications for health-insurance giant Cigna, Potter turned against his old
colleagues in June to testify before a congressional committee about what he
viewed as the health-insurance industry's "duplicitous" behavior in the current
health-reform debate. In his testimony, Potter outlined specific techniques
insurers employ to "dump the sick" and protect stock price at all costs. His
testimony was logical, specific and convincing, but that's only part of what
makes Wendell Potter a perfect turncoat in the eyes of the pro-reform movement

Time has done a great piece writing about Wendell Potter. He is a long time player in the Health Insurance Industry who has turned whistle blower, more or less (and I say that because like a man true to his word, he signed a confidentiality agreement and states he will not break that agreement) who is willing now to stand up and tell the truth about what these companies are doing and how they get away with it. Not only that, he also spells out how our representatives are buying into their games, and allowing themselves to be convinced that these Insurance giants are working towards making things better.

You can read the rest of the interview here:


Is anyone really surprised by this information? Those who "insure" us care more about profits and their bottom line than the health and well being of those they insure. Do they think we are stupid enough that we don't know that already?

My biggest question to our leaders, our representatives and all those who are not in favor of reform, of the single payer idea, or are even going so far as to complain about the option to give people a "choice".......

Why should our health and protecting it be a for profit business? When did we reach the level of depravity that protecting the health and well being of our citizens become less important than making money?

Insurance companies are the current form of "death panels" in this country and they make those life and death choices each and every day for people whom they don't know, for patients they have no knowledge of and for all of us based solely on how much money it will cost them and if it will cut into the profits they can make.

How did we get to the point that we allowed this to become commonplace?

Yes, we are a free market society, but does that justify the idea that our people and their health can be treated as if they are no more than a commodity, something to be bought and sold, traded on for another dollar in the pocket of a corporation and its shareholders?

It seems to me that the Insurance companies know that they can get away with it because too many remain silent about it. People don't fight back. We don't stand up and make our feelings about this known, people for years have simply fought with the insurance companies and that was that. Now we are seeing more people stand up and fight publicly.

One great example:

Imagine having a perfectly healthy two month old baby and having your insurance
tell you they won't cover him. One local family says that's
what's happened to them.
Baby Alex is a happy, adorable, big baby. And now
at three months old, the family's insurance company says he's not eligible for
Alex eats well, is growing fast and has no pre–existing conditions.
But his mom Kelli says their insurance company says he's just too big.
“Insurance standards say if he's above 95 percent he's uninsurable."
of his size, Alex was turned down for
, his height and weight put him in the 99th percentile
according to CDC guidelines.


Now we are talking about a baby was was being breastfed. And because he was growing at an increasing rate, was healthy and doing well, he was uninsurable? Seriously?
So the story goes national and what do you suppose happens?

A Colorado insurance company is changing
its attitude about fat babies.
Rocky Mountain
Health Plans said Monday it
will no longer consider obesity a "pre-existing condition" barring coverage for
hefty infants. The change comes after the insurer turned down a Grand Junction
4-month-old who weighs about 17 pounds. The insurer deemed Alex Lange obese and
said the infant didn't qualify for coverage.
The insurer said Monday
it would change its policy for babies that are healthy but fat. The company
attributed the boy's rejection for
to "a flaw in our underwriting


How much are you willing to bet that if this story had not made headlines that there would have been no change in the original claim that this child was uninsurable and that the insurance company would never have admitted that there was "a flaw in our underwriting system"?

Look at the fight going on right now that our President is undertaking on our behalf and the roadblocks he is facing by those who feel that not only is the status quo acceptable, but it is a situation that should not be interfered with because of the idea that "those who can ...do, and those that can't.. have only themselves to blame, it makes me ill that this is what a large portion of Americans really believe is acceptable. It's that "I got mine, the hell with you" attitude which makes my blood boil.

I have watched conversations where people have actually said that if you are without insurance it is your own fault for now having a job that provides either the insurance or the salary to purchase your own insurance. I have also watched as people claim that offering a public option will do nothing more than force everyone into that plan because the Insurance industry cannot compete with a non-profit.

We know that AARP has endorse a public option and now it looks like Consumer Reports has done the same thing.

The public option is now backed by the nonprofit group behind Consumer
"We're very strongly in support of the public insurance option as an
option because we think that you can't get health care costs down unless there
really is true competition in the health insurance marketplace," said James
Guest of Consumers Union.


Why are we not having protests demanding a public option be made available to those who want and need that CHOICE? Why are people not standing up and saying that we need to make sure that all of us have access to affordable health care?

1 comment:

  1. crystalwolf aka caligrlOctober 15, 2009 at 11:52 AM

    Eye it is the capitalist way, profits before anything else and that goes for healthcare.
    I've worked in plenty small business jobs and none of them had healthcare for the employee's and they were Veterinarians and they would expect you to come in even when sick! Only got 2 sickdays
    days a year...and if you were sick after those "2"days you didn't get paid. Course you know the owners of the business had healthcare! That what is getting the repukes mad, b/c they don't want small businesses to have to get healthcare for their employees (it will cost them) but they don't understand the public option would help keep the cost down.
    And yes its the "I got mine" attitude, all the repukes have their healthcare through the gov so why do they care whether or not everyone else has it? They get their kickbacks from the ins. Lobbyists.
    Its sickening.