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A Message and Request from Wendell Potter, Insurance Industry Whistleblower

My name is Wendell Potter and recently I joined the Board of Directors of Consumers for Affordable Health Care based in Augusta. What you may not know is that I used to be the Vice President of Corporate Communications for CIGNA, one of the United States’ largest health insurance companies. Because of that experience, I’d like to ask you to support Consumers for Affordable Health Care and their work to protect consumers from insurance company excesses.

In June 2009, I blew the whistle on the HMO industry in a hearing before the U.S. Senate. I shared with Congress examples detailed in my book called Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out On How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans. Here is the opening of my testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation:

My name is Wendell Potter and for 20 years, I worked as a senior executive at health insurance companies, and I saw how they confuse their customers and dump the sick – all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors.

I know from personal experience that members of Congress and the public have good reason to question the honesty and trustworthiness of the insurance industry. Insurers make promises they have no intention of keeping, they flout regulations designed to protect consumers, and they make it nearly impossible to understand-or even to obtain-information we need. As you hold hearings and discuss legislative proposals over the coming weeks, I encourage you to look very closely at the role for-profit insurance companies play in making our health care system both the most expensive and one of the most dysfunctional in the world. I hope you get a real sense of what life would be like for most of us if the kind of so-called reform the insurers are lobbying for is enacted.

In 2013, you can be sure that the insurance industry again will be running media campaigns to confuse consumers about their choices and the laws intended to protect consumers – just as the new Health Insurance Exchanges open for enrollment to provide better, lower cost options to individuals and small businesses.

That’s why Consumers for Affordable Health Care needs your help. In 2013 they want to:

  • Provide consumers with apples-to-apples comparisons of their health plan options
  • Help many of the 133,000 uninsured Mainers enroll in subsidized health insurance
  • Help small businesses get tax credits to defray premiums
  • Make insurance companies pay out more for actual medical bills, not profits
  • Advocate that insurance rate hikes be approved by regulators
  • Appeal denials of medical coverage by insurance companies for consumers, and
  • Much more!

Consumers for Affordable Health Care represents your interests at the State House and in hearings before the Maine Bureau of Insurance. They do the things that many of us don’t have the time or expertise to do.

Please be generous in your support for your state-based industry watchdog – Consumers for Affordable Health Care and help them get more Mainers into the health insurance coverage they need.

You can donate online or by mail at PO Box 2490, Augusta, ME 04330.

Sincerely,

Wendell Potter

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