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Insider Blows the Whistle on Health Insurers
8/6/2009
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Congressional testimony put companies on the defensive amidst debate over health care reform
by Craig Weatherby


Last June, we wrote an article titled “Health Care Costs: Reports Cite Urgent Need for Cost Control”.

It was prompted by an interview we saw on Bill Moyers’ PBS-TV show, which only heightened our concern about America’s high and rapidly rising health care costs, which are hurting people and the U.S. economy.

As we wrote then, “…our company’s health insurance premiums will rise steeply this year… on the heels of a similarly steep increase last year.”

Our June 4
“Health Care Costs” article contained links to Moyers’ show… and also highlighted a revealing report by Harvard neurosurgeon Atul Gawande, M.D., who traveled to a town with per capita health care costs that are even higher than the high American average.

White House staffers and Congresspersons admitted rushing to read Dr. Gawande’s findings about the roots of the health care cost spiral (See “
The Cost Conundrum: What a Texas town can teach us about health care”).

Insider testimony rocks health insurers
On July 10, PBS-TV host Bill Moyers interviewed former health insurance insider Wendell Potter, whose damning June 24 testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation made headlines.

We thought you’d be interested in what Potter had to say. Just go to that show’s page on the 
Moyers show's Web site, where you will see links to video of the interview, and to Potter’s searing Congressional testimony, in video or text form.

Here’s a key quote from the Moyers Web site:

“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 can find links to all of the Moyers program’s coverage of this issue on the show's 
Special Feature: Reforming Health Care page.

We're not pushing any one agenda... whatever conclusions you come to, let your Congresspersons know!

U.S. Senate
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