Thursday, November 25, 2010
Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans
I worked in the financial industry for 25 years. Nothing I saw there was as heinous as what is revealed in this book. Put simply, Wall Street may take away people’s money, but health insurance companies take away people’s lives.
Author Wendell Potter was an insurance company executive, heading up a PR department. For years, he participated in the shameless pursuit of profits over lives until he finally came face to face with the effects on real people of what he was doing. Visiting a clinic set up on a fair ground offering free health care to those who had no insurance and no means to pay for health care, he saw ordinary hardworking people reduced to being treated in animal stalls.
He has written about his experience in the health insurance industry, as well as his epiphany, in a straightforward manner, making it more powerful than if he had penned an hysterical screed. He takes us, step by step through the changes in the health insurance industry from a privately held companies offering true health insurance to the modern publicly owned companies whose focus is on profits rather than health.
The lengths to which health insurers go and the collusions in which they participate are extraordinary. They routinely deny coverage to people who need it and drop coverage of people who become ill. They hire outside PR firms who form bogus grassroots groups who lobby in favor of health insurers. They provide statistics to back up all of their false claims that any kind of healthcare reform is bad.
Potter devotes an entire chapter to revealing how health insurers torpedoed Healthcare Reform using all of the dirty tricks he had discussed in previous chapters. The reason we have no public option is because it would put the health insurance industry out of business prompting them to wage all-out war against it.
It took the death of a child who was denied a liver transplant to convince Potter to leave his job with CIGNA. He devotes his time now to healthcare reform advocacy and as a health insurance critic. He testified during the healthcare reform debates, but obviously not enough people listened to him.
In my opinion, this book should be required reading for every member of Congress. They need to know how they have been bribed and manipulated by the health insurers to do what’s best for the health insurance industry instead of what is best for the people who elected them to office.
Review copy courtesy of Bloomsbury Press
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
This book is only interesting to readers who know little or nothing about Elizabeth I. For the rest of us, it is just a tiresome rehashing of all the familiar stories. Elizabeth’s relationships with her half-sister, Mary and Mary, Queen of Scots. Her ladies in waiting, both those who served her selflessly and those who “betrayed” her with secret pregnancies and secret marriages, usually in that order.
There are no new insights into any of these women, their lives nor their influence on Elizabeth. The only original thinking in the book is a few brief pages on Elizabeth’s similarity to her mother, Anne Boleyn. Most biographers point out her similarities to her father, Henry VIII. This biographer looks at her resemblance to her mother both in looks and personality and how she used both to manipulate the men around her, again like her mother.
This single original thought could have fit comfortably into an article or academic paper. There was no reason to write a book.