Last month I blogged about former health insurance exec Wendell Potter when he appeared on Bill Moyers’ show to talk about the nefarious practices of the health insurance industry.
Now Potter is speaking out again on the “mobs” that have been disrupting town hall meetings across the country. These “individuals” have partaken in angry outbursts, heckling, some physically aggressive disruptions and even reports of guns being brought to the meetings (though all legally, so far as I know).
Potter, a former CIGNA vice president, met with House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) the other day. At a Capitol news conference following the meeting, Potter was quoted as saying:
“The industry is up to the same dirty tricks this year… When you hear someone complaining about traveling down a ‘slippery slope to socialism,’ some insurance flack, like I used to be, wrote that.”
Potter attested to the fact that he didn’t have specifics in this case as he’d been out of the industry for a year, but that the behavior followed the same patterns he witnessed and helped instigate while working for CIGNA.
Slaughter herself added:
“the notion that this is going to be something devilish comes from the people who would lose money on it.”
According to The Hill:
[Potter] cited front groups created to fight “Patients’ Bill of Rights” legislation in the 1990s, as well as a campaign to discredit the Michael Moore film “Sicko,” which harshly criticized the industry.
In response, America’s Health Insurance Plan (AHIP) president Karen Ignagni sent a letter to congressional leaders claiming:
“There is no truth to the allegation that AHIP’s employee grassroots program is responsible for disruptive and inappropriate tactics at health care town hall meetings. We are urging our member plans to participate in town hall meetings to provide members of Congress with real-world examples of how they are helping to expand access, reduce costs and improve quality.”
Who do you believe?