Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

"Outstanding…Moore Triumphs! Publishers Weekly

Open Mike

Blogger Profile: Wendell Potter

Following a 20-year career as a corporate public relations executive, Wendell left his position as head of communications for CIGNA, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, to help socially responsible organizations — including those advocating for meaningful health care reform — achieve their goals.

In widely covered testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science and Technology Committee in June of 2009, Wendell disclosed how the insurance industry has developed and implemented strategic communications plans, based on deceptive public relations, advertising and lobbying efforts, to defeat reform initiatives.

His new book, Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans, is an expose of health insurers and a stark warning that corporate spin is distorting our democracy.

Wendell is currently a senior analyst at the The Center for Public Integrity. His website is WendellPotter.com, and his twitter account is @WendellPotter.

Wendell Potter's Blogs

First Page 3 of 4 Last

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

February 8th, 2012

The Battle for Vermont's Health -- And Why It Matters for the Rest of the Country

You can't see them. They're hidden from view and probably always will be. But the health insurance industry's big guns are in place and pointed directly at the citizens of Vermont. Health insurers were not able to stop the state's drive last year toward a single-payer health care system, which ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

February 3rd, 2012

Paying For Cancer Treatment for Children in America With a Car Wash, Bake Sale and Fish Fry

"It shouldn't be this way," read the subject line of an email I received Friday morning from a conservative friend and fellow Southerner. "People shouldn't have to beg for money to pay for medical care." At first, I thought he was referring to my column last week in which I ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

January 24th, 2012

Park City Vantage Point Puts Tragedy of American Health Care in Vivid Relief

The journey I embarked on when I made the decision to leave a successful career in the health insurance business was a spiritual one. I can trace the decision to a true epiphany, to the very moment I saw hundreds of people standing, soaking wet, in long, slow-moving lines, waiting ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

December 15th, 2011

Keep Nataline's Spirit of Christmas Alive

It was four years ago today that I received a phone call from a Los Angeles TV reporter that would change my life, although I certainly didn't realize it at the time. The reporter said she had been told that CIGNA, the big health insurer I worked for back then, ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

December 6th, 2011

Using PR Playbook to Keep Us in the Dark About Health Insurance Coverage

If you wonder why the health insurance industry has to set up front groups and secretly funnel cash to industry-funded coalitions to influence public policy, take a look at the most recent results of the Kaiser Family Foundation's monthly Health Tracking Poll. In its November poll, KFF added a few ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

November 28th, 2011

Does the U.S. Have the World's Best Health Care System? Yes, If You're Talking About the Third World

A little more than a year ago, on the day after the GOP regained control of the House of Representatives, Speaker-to-be John Boehner said one of the first orders of business after he took charge would be the repeal of health care reform. "I believe that the health care bill ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

November 14th, 2011

Recycling a Front Group to Cheat Us Out of Benefits

The special interests seeking to gut those portions of the health reform law that would be of greatest benefit to consumers clearly believe there is no such thing as historical memory in Washington. Why else would they bring one of their old front groups out of the storage locker, with ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

October 30th, 2011

"Pre-existing" Is Not as Scary a Term as It Used to Be, Thanks to ObamaCare

Today I return to addressing some of the concerns that people are having with obtaining coverage or dealing with their health insurance carriers. Many of the questions I have received pertain to pre-existing conditions, including the one below that was received via Twitter. Dear Wendell Will people with pre-existing conditions ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

October 17th, 2011

An Abiding Faith in Reform

As I wrote last week, Maine and California are taking radically different approaches to implementing health care reforms within their boundaries. While the GOP-controlled government in Augusta has passed legislation that gives health insurers far more control of the health care system than they’ve ever had, lawmakers in Sacramento are ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

October 12th, 2011

"Occupy Wall Street" Should Protest the Wall Street Takeover of Health Care At Insurers' Big Lobbying Group

The lobbyists for U.S. health insurers surely have to be feeling a little uneasy knowing that thousands of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators who have been marching and protesting in Washington as well as New York and other cities might target them in the days ahead. After all, the headquarters of ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

October 6th, 2011

Health insurers win big in Maine

Augusta, Maine — Almost 3,200 miles separate Sacramento and Augusta, but the gulf between those two state capitals actually seems much greater when measuring the comparative trust that political leaders there have placed in health insurance companies.   This week and next, I will provide a glimpse into the contrasting ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

August 8th, 2011

A New Kind of House Call

Dr. Bruce Kinosian still makes house calls, and he’s proud of it.  In fact, he introduces himself as a physician who goes to see his patients in their homes rather than insisting that they come to see him at his office. He’s convinced that if more doctors did what he ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

August 5th, 2011

Health Insurers Sacrifice Americans for Profit

Three of the biggest health insurers have announced quarterly earnings in the past few days. If Americans were able to eavesdrop on what executives from those firms tell their Wall Street masters every three months, they would have a better understanding of why premiums keep going up while the number ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

July 12th, 2011

One Big Reason Why Small Biz Job Growth Has Slowed to a Crawl

Want to be an entrepreneur but also be certain you'll have health insurance? Good luck with that. You might seriously consider moving to Denmark or Canada. Those countries have not only achieved universal health care coverage for their citizens -- coverage that's not tied to employment -- but they have ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

July 7th, 2011

Death Panels Real and Imagined

On behalf of Grigor and Hilda Sarkisyan, I would like to invite Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia to attend the 21 st birthday celebration of the Sarkisyans' only daughter, Nataline, this coming Saturday, July 9, in Calabasas, Calif. Gingrey could consider it a legitimate, reimbursable fact-finding mission. He clearly ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

July 6th, 2011

It's Time to Get Outraged

One of my favorite bumper stickers reads, "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." That's sort of how I feel about the health care debate. If more Americans paid attention to the fate of neighbors and loved ones who have fallen victim to the cruel dysfunction of our health ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

June 27th, 2011

Nonprofit Insurers: Reaping Profits at the Expense of the Consumer

Nowhere are health insurers working harder to thwart reforms that could save consumers billions of dollars than in California. One measure they are especially determined to kill is a bill that would give state regulators the authority to reject rate increases that were excessive or discriminatory. The California Assembly passed ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

June 16th, 2011

Got Health Insurance Through Your Employer? Maybe Not for Long (But Not Because of Reform)

The global consulting firm McKinsey & Company set off a firestorm when it released a report last week suggesting that 30 percent of U.S. businesses will stop offering health care benefits to their employees after most of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect in 2014. The ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

June 15th, 2011

Health Insurers Pump Your Premiums Into a Financial Black Hole

Ever wonder what happens to the premiums you pay for your health insurance? You might be surprised to learn that more and more of the dollars you pay for coverage are being sucked into a kind of black hole.  It doesn't really disappear, of course. It just doesn't do you ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

May 31st, 2011

Health Insurers Have Had Their Chance

Of the many supporters of a single-payer health care system in the United States, some of the most ardent are small business owners who have struggled to continue offering coverage to their workers. Among them are David Steil, a small business owner and former Republican -- yes, Republican -- state ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

May 19th, 2011

Insurance Industry Flack Screws Up, Points Us to Report We Really Should Read

I turned 43 a couple of weeks after I joined CIGNA in 1993. One of the birthday gifts from my new colleagues was a framed three-word quote by E. B. White: "Be obscure clearly." We laughed and laughed. It was an inside joke -- and a perfect present for an ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

May 16th, 2011

Got Health Insurance? Pray You Won't Get "Purged"

You might not realize it, but this is National Small Business Week. I'm betting many small business owners aren't aware of it, either. Perhaps that's because most small business owners are far more likely to be worrying about whether they'll be able to offer health insurance to their employees for ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

April 28th, 2011

Health Execs Getting Richer As Some Americans Beg for Help to Pay for Care

On Monday, I wrote about the good fortune of UnitedHealth Group, one of the big seven for-profit health insurance companies, and its CEO, Stephen J. Hemsley. Last week, UnitedHealth pleased Wall Street so much with its report of earnings during the first three months of this year that investors clamored ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

April 21st, 2011

Ryan's Medicare Plan Would Be a Windfall for Insurance Companies

Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to privatize Medicare would accelerate a trend started several years ago by corporate CEOs and their political allies to shift ever-increasing amounts of risk from Big Business and the government to workers and retirees. If enacted, the Ryan plan would represent a windfall of unprecedented proportions ... continue reading

Wendell Potter

Corporate Whistleblower and Author

April 11th, 2011

The ‘Front Group’ hall of shame

Today will go down in the public relations history books as the day health insurers and their allies began a coordinated campaign to ensure that the health care reform law is implemented in ways that will benefit them way more than the rest of us. Today is the day they ... continue reading

First Page 3 of 4 Last

If you have a moment today, I hope you can read the obituary for my father Francis (Frank) Moore, who died this past Saturday at the age of 92: Francis...

Apr 22nd
6:33 PM
Read More

My father, Francis (Frank) Moore, passed away this morning a few months shy if his 93rd birthday. He was a great dad I am blessed to have had him in my life. I...

Apr 20th
2:58 AM
Read More

Time to put the cuffs on Chris Christie -- not for the bridge scandal, but for this: Chris Christie's $300m pension proposal broke state anti-corruption...

Apr 18th
7:31 PM
Read More

George W. Bush Debuts New Paintings Of Dogs, Friends, Ghost Of Iraqi Child That Follows Him... www.theonion.com President Bush has a new hobby -- painting! --...

Apr 17th
7:28 PM
Read More

Big new story from David Sirota and Pando on top Christie adviser and appearance of corruption at New Jersey's pension fund: REVEALED: Gov....

Apr 17th
12:41 PM
Read More

FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States www.theonion.com WASHINGTON—The FBI announced today that it has uncovered a...

Apr 15th
3:28 PM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel's top donor bought stock in Marriott just before it was awarded huge contract pando.com As schools are closed and pensions cut,...

Apr 9th
2:00 PM
Read More

I'll be at First Time Fest today in New York City at the screening of my first film, Roger & Me. Loews Village 7 at 12:30 pm. Come see it on the big...

Apr 5th
9:48 AM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel cuts public pensions, diverts money to benefit campaign donors pando.com If you've read the financial news out of Chicago the last...

Apr 4th
2:19 PM
Read More

Please take a moment today to think of Casey Austin Sheehan, son of Cindy and Patrick, who was murdered by U.S. foreign policy in Sadr City, Baghdad ten years...

Apr 4th
2:00 PM
Read More

ICYMI - I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence...

Apr 3rd
7:38 PM
Read More

I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention...

Apr 2nd
8:27 PM
Read More

I am opposed to the death penalty, but to every rule there is usually an exception, and in this case I hope the criminals at General Motors will be arrested...

Apr 1st
3:55 PM
Read More

How Long Some in the US Will Survive Under New Health Law ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com Those who must access care to live and can afford it are not...

Mar 31st
10:13 PM
Read More

Last night, The Good Wife on the East Coast started 40 minutes late due to the overrun of the NCAA basketball game. If you had your DVR set for the show, you...

Mar 24th
5:41 PM
Read More

Watching films today, looking for the ones I'm going to pick for my film festival this summer. I (and a whole bunch of others!) have this thing we put on...

Mar 23rd
4:48 PM
Read More

When the U.S. Health Care System Keeps Killing, Who Cares Enough to Fight? ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com We have largely forgotten that people are at...

Mar 21st
5:56 PM
Read More

Tell the White House not to give up on Dr. Vivek Murthy's nomination as Surgeon General despite the ferocious opposition from the NRA: Don't give...

Mar 21st
5:38 PM
Read More

This criminal would never see a jail cell, nor would his cronies. In fact, they'd later be rewarded with re-election: Presidential Address on War with...

Mar 19th
9:40 PM
Read More

The crime of the century -- our invasion & slaughter in Iraq -- started 11 years ago tonite in this 7pm (ET) hour, March 19th, 2003: CNN Coverage of...

Mar 19th
9:08 PM
Read More

Washington’s Back-to-the-Future Military Policies in Africa ...by Nick Turse www.michaelmoore.com Nick Turse is an award-winning journalist, historian,...

Mar 17th
4:59 PM
Read More

"I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world." -- Tony Benn, 1925-2014 Tony Benn in 'Sicko'

Mar 14th
10:07 AM
Read More

RIP Tony Benn, one of the UK's greatest leaders: Tony Benn, veteran Labour politician, dies aged 88 www.theguardian.com Former cabinet minister died at...

Mar 14th
9:53 AM
Read More

Please read this important story from K. Ford K.: Am I the Face of the New American Middle Class? www.huffingtonpost.com I began to feel I had slipped so low...

Mar 13th
2:24 PM
Read More

Yesterday Dianne Feinstein revealed that the CIA has been spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is all about the report the committee has produced...

Mar 12th
6:48 PM
Read More

Health Care for All Colorado has brought Mercy Killers, a show written and performed by Michael Milligan about our murderous for-profit healthcare system, to...

Mar 10th
1:08 PM
Read More

Health Care Dramas that Sting and Why We Have to Watch ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com The realities Milligan has written into the show cut deep into...

Mar 10th
1:02 PM
Read More

Did you know the Lehrer Newshour on PBS has been produced for 20 years by a company owned by conservative cable billionaire John Malone? Me neither. After...

Mar 7th
8:39 PM
Read More

Mr. Obama, if int’l law is so damn crucial . . . | RootsAction.org act.rootsaction.org The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear. The...

Mar 6th
1:21 PM
Read More

Subscribe to Mike's Blog RSS

Click here to suggest an article

Open Mike

See More Blogs

Vew the archives

View older articles