Wendell Potter

Wendell Potter

Wendell Potter is the former vice president for corporate communications at Cigna. He is now president of Business for Medicare for All and author of bestselling books Deadly Spin and Nation on the Take.

Articles by this author

"To contain the virus and relaunch the economy, everyone needs health care," write Archer and Potter. "But without employer-sponsored health insurance and a paycheck, many workers are no longer able to afford the care they need. During a pandemic, that puts all of us in danger." (Photo: Paul Becker / Becker1999 / flickr / cc) Views
Monday, June 08, 2020
To Defeat Coronavirus, We Need to Expand Medicare
The novel coronavirus pandemic has exposed many failings in our health care system, among them the unreliability and excessive cost of employer-sponsored health insurance. More than 40 million people are newly unemployed as a result of the pandemic. According to economists at University of...
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(L-R) Gail Boudreaux, CEO of Anthem, US Vice President Mike Pence, US President Donald Trump, David Wichmann, CEO of UnitedHealth Group, and others listen to an attendee speak to the press after a meeting about the coronavirus, COVID-19 with members of the insurance industry in the Roosevelt Room of the White House March 10, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images) Views
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Coronavirus Pandemic Reveals Just How Devastating the Greed of For-Profit Insurance Industry Has Become
A word to the wise: During this coronavirus crisis, keep an eye on every move of my old industry: health insurers. Behind the PR spin, they’ll be doing everything they can to deny care and maintain profits while making it look like they’re heroes. Don’t be fooled by the industry’s campaign to make...
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Remember groups that are likely to come to the defense of the employer-based insurance system that Warren wants to dramatically reform, like the Chamber of Commerce, may (again) be receiving tens of millions of dollars from industry. (Photo: Astrid Riecken/Getty Images) Views
Friday, November 01, 2019
How Health Insurance Industry Allies Are Going to Lie and Attack Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for All Plan
Now that we’ve seen Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan to pay for Medicare for All without raising taxes on the middle class, let me tell you what is happening in Washington. Forbes Tate, the Washington-based PR firm hired by big insurance, drug and hospital companies to create and run a front group...
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In my 20 years working inside the industry and the 11 years I’ve been watching from the outside, I have never seen such high support among the people who get their coverage through their employers for switching to a publicly financed, privately delivered health care system. (Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images) Views
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Why the Private Health Insurance Industry Faces an Existential Crisis
I have told a lot of stories about my time near the top of the health insurance industry. This is not one I’ve ever shared, until now. Shortly before I left Cigna, I was at a meeting of the company’s senior executives. This was as then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was gaining traction in...
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Harris’ plan overestimates the government’s ability to keep for-profit health insurance companies from driving up health care spending and denying people needed care. (Photo: Getty Images) Views
Monday, August 05, 2019
'KamalaCare' Fails to Address Big Problem: That We Cannot Trust Insurance Companies
It’s hard to disagree with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) when she says: “Right now, the American health care system is a patchwork of plans, providers and costs that have left people frustrated, powerless and insurance companies in charge. And . . . health care just costs too much.” That makes it...
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Trump and his conservative allies are weaponizing “fiscal responsibility” in order to force the poor, elderly, children, and the disabled to shoulder the cost of their massively irresponsible tax cut for the richest Americans.(Photo: Shutterstock/Albert H. Teich) Views
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Trump’s Greedy 2019 Budget Goes Nuclear on Medicare and Medicaid
Today, the Trump Administration unveiled their 4.75 Trillion dollar budget proposal , and it’s chock full of that signature brand of waste, fraud, and abuse Trump pledged to eliminate on the campaign trail. It’s easy to get distracted by the President’s more outlandish scandals and statements, but...
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Protesters on July 24, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida railed against Republican senators attempting to destroy the Affordable Care Act also made clear their demand for Medicare for All that would cover everybody with high-quality care. Views
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Take It From Me: Tweaks Won't Fix Healthcare
Democrats have secured a 40-seat flip of the House of Representatives, based largely on a nationwide call for health care reform. Many Democrats, led by Brian Higgins of New York, are planning to use their newfound control of the House to work on a Medicare buy-in bill. I spent 20 years as a health...
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Thursday, March 23, 2017
Why Big Insurance Adores the American Health Care Act
There’s been a lot of talk about just who was hurt and helped by Obamacare and who will profit or be imperiled by the next phase of health care legislation. Yet health insurance executives have been curiously silent about the House GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare . While the American...
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Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Repeal Obamacare? GOP Should Be Careful What They Wish For
For years, Republicans have been condemning Obamacare and vowing to repeal and replace it. Now that they’ll soon be able to do that, they’re like the dog that caught the car: Now what? I’d be willing to bet a month’s worth of premiums that this is what’s happening right now: The best PR pros money...
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Wednesday, October 12, 2016
History (of Health Insurance Greed) Repeats Itself
On a Friday afternoon 16 years and four months ago, after the close of trading at the New York Stock Exchange, my staff and I at Cigna disseminated a press release we knew would lead to a lot of angst in Washington, on Wall Street and around the country. Sure enough, the next Monday morning, June 5...
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