Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americansby Wendell Potter
That's how Wendell Potter introduced himself to a Senate committee in June 2009. He proceed to explain how insurance companies make promises they have no intention of keeping, how they flout regulations designed to protect consumers, and how they make it nearly impossible to understand information that the public needs. Potter quit his high-paid job as head of public… See more details below
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That's how Wendell Potter introduced himself to a Senate committee in June 2009. He proceed to explain how insurance companies make promises they have no intention of keeping, how they flout regulations designed to protect consumers, and how they make it nearly impossible to understand information that the public needs. Potter quit his high-paid job as head of public relations at a major insurance corporation because he could no longer abide the routine practices of the insurance industry, policies that amounted to a death sentence for thousands of Americans every year.
In Deadly Spin, Potter takes readers behind the scenes of the insurance industry to show how a huge chunk of our absurd healthcare expenditures actually bankrolls a propaganda campaign and lobbying effort focused on protecting one thing: profits. With the unique vantage of both a whistleblower and a high-powered former insider, Potter moves beyond the healthcare crisis to show how public relations works, and how it has come to play a massive, often insidious role in our political process-and our lives.
This important and timely book tells Potter's remarkable personal story, but its larger goal is to explain how people like Potter, before his change of heart, can get the public to think and act in ways that benefit big corporations-and the Wall Street money managers who own them.
What sets this book apart is that it is one of the few volumes that examine ethical shortcomings of American public relations…. this book is more than just one PR man's tell-all book about the insurance industry. It's a wake-up call.
A former health-care PR executive blows the whistle on the industry.
Born in rural North Carolina to hardworking parents struggling through lean times, Center for Media and Democracy senior fellow Potter was the first in his family to earn a college degree, after which he became an investigative reporter at a Memphis newspaper. A gig as a political lobbyist led him into the public-relations field, where he accepted a prestigious position at managed-care behemoth Humana. In 1993, he signed on with CIGNA, a highly respected, for-profit health insurer, earning a six-figure salary as a senior PR executive. But as Potter ascended the corporate ranks, disillusionment became commonplace alongside the pressures to increase profitability at any cost while callously disregarding the basic principles of ethics. His conscience buckled. The author recalls working on an aggressive, exorbitant campaign (using health-plan premiums) to discredit filmmaker Michael Moore, whose 2007 documentary Sicko detailed the dire state of American health care. Potter experienced firsthand the destitute situations of those without health care when he visited a "clinic day" on public fairgrounds in Virginia. The author backs up his claims with historical perspectives, industry dissection, consumer profiles and the hard evidence of documented Congressional investigations. He now considers the insurance industry "an evil system built and sustained on greed"—an opinion he maintained after being asked to testify on behalf of an investigation spearheaded by Democratic senator Jay Rockefeller. Potter officially addressed the U.S. Senate on June 24, 2009, exposing the "spin machine" used by companies like CIGNA to confuse unsuspecting consumers. The author concludes optimistically with the passage of President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, which he considers a positive, proactive leap toward health-care reform.
An illuminating, up-to-the-minute testimonial sure to garner widespread attention and controversy.
- Bloomsbury USA
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