By Martin J. Walsh
On Wednesday, December 6th many of us were privileged to hear Wendell Potter give us the straight scoop on our private for-profit healthcare debacle. Mr. Potter was an executive with CIGNA Insurance, whose conscience got the better of him, and he quit his post so he could live with himself.
His job as Director of Corporate Communications put him in charge of convincing us of lies regarding the benefits of private healthcare. He gave examples of cases where the company was willing to let people die, and his job was to justify their actions. He led the fight against the Michael Moore film “Sicko”. He worked to convince us that 50M were uninsured by their choice. One huge example was going to a county fair site where many doctors volunteered their time to help people who waited days in line to get into animal stalls to be helped.
He explained the “free market” is not the way to go to keep our costs reasonable. Private carriers consider claims as losses, rather than the reason they exist.
Mr. Potter finally went before Congress in 2009 to help expose the industry lies.
He explained some facts about Obamacare which help immeasurably. We know about reasonable coverage for pre-existing conditions. Also, women and older persons pay less. And insurance companies are forced to pay 80% of premiums for claims. There was one interesting statistic to me. In 1999, the family coverage cost average was $5,791 vs 2018 of $19,688. Many employers pay more in benefits than salary.
He strongly fights for Medicare for All. A great idea, whose time has come.