Sunday, July 12, 2009

Must See TV on Health Care Reform

If you have not seen Bill Moyer's interview with former
Public Relations Director for CIGNA, Wendell Potter, you need to. Last month, Potter gave testimony in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation concerning his change of heart over our health care system.

Potter admits during the interview that while wrestling with his decision he read President Kennedy's "Profiles in Courage," he was heavily influenced by a Dante quote that RFK said, in the forward, was one of the President's favorite quotes: "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of moral crisis maintain a neutrality."

Potter began facing this moral dilemma when he went home to Tennessee and saw an ad for a "health care expedition." Intrigued, Potter borrowed his dad's car and drove over to the fairgrounds where this event was taking place. What he found, floored him.
"It was absolutely stunning. When I walked through the fairground gates, I saw
hundreds of people lined up, in the rain. It was raining that day. Lined up,
waiting to get care, in animal stalls. Animal stalls."

What Potter saw both at that "expedition" and on his return to work (he took a trip subsequent to returning to work from that vacation in the normal method: on a corporate jet with dinner served on gold-rimmed plates, with gold-plated silverware) changed his view of the industry he had served for so long.
Looking back over his long career, Potter sees an industry corrupted by Wall
Street expectations and greed. According to Potter, insurers have every
incentive to deny coverage — every dollar they don't pay out to a claim is a
dollar they can add to their profits, and Wall Street investors demand they pay
out less every year. Under these conditions, Potter says, "You don't think about
individual people. You think about the numbers, and whether or not you're going
to meet Wall Street's expectations."

You Need to Watch This Interview. One thing I found fascinating: $0.20 of every premium dollar goes towards overhead. Medicare's administrative expense in this country is roughly 3%. Think about that figure.

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