Wendell Potter is an ex-executive at one of the nation's largest health insurance companies, CIGNA. On July 10 he was interviewed on the Bill Moyer's Journal on PBS.
It was truly one of the most enlightening presentations I've seen on the problems with health care in America. He laid out from an insider's perspective, the duplicitous actions that are the foundation of the for-profit health insurance system plaguing the United States.
Wendell Potter will be featured again tonight on Bill Moyer's Journal. It should be well worth the time of anyone who hopes against hope that the United States will join the rest of the developed world in offering universal health care as a right of citizenship.
During their discussion, Mr.Potter was asked a question about the attempts by the insurance industry to refute the premise of Micael Moore's movie "Sicko". (Anecdotal stories reported local workers at Humana receiving e-mail talking points to shoot down Mr.Moore's movie.) Mr.Potter answered Mr. Moyer's question by stating that the movie was totally accurate in its depiction of the insurance industry.
That is significant because the insurance industry's defenders portray the health insurance business as integral to the delivery of quality health care, rather than the unnecessary blockage of quality care that it truly is. In "Sicko", people's choices were dictated by the profit-driven health insurance system. Those who have seen the movie will recall the man who lost a finger because of cost, or the toddler who died while the mother tried get to a "network" hospital,or the Ground Zero workers Moore ferried to Cuba for government-provided health care. All of these people had health insurance. All of them received inferior care. Mr.Potter's inside view backs up the premise of "Sicko".
The single best solution to our problems is a single-payer health system. President Obama early on ruled that discussion out of order. It is, in all likelihood, too late to veer back toward the path of a single-payer solution, and in its place we now have the "public option" as a stand-in for single payer. Many on the Corporate Right, members of this faction can be found in both political parties, are fighting tooth and nail to keep even this watered-down remedy away from the citizens of the U.S.. They are fighting us to protect them. Survey after survey find vast majorities dissatisfied with the health care system in place now. Government studies judge the current system unsustainable. And yet, the Coporatists can not let go of the cash cow which has become health care in America. Campaign contributions flow from this cow, quarterly dividends and massive pay checks and bonuses flow from her too.
I have seen the movie "Sicko" several times. I saw it again recently at a forum on health care. At the recent showing I noticed something for the first time. At a demonstration in Washington supporting health reform, a demonstrator was wearing a tee shirt with the old union slogan, "Which Side Are You On?". That is the central question we should ask our representatives as they visit us during the congressional recess.
BILL MOYER'S JOURNAL IS ON OUR LOCAL PBS STATION AT 10:00 PM TONIGHT, FRIDAY JULY 31