Healthcare in the US

June 26, 2015

The Caledonian Record

To the Editor:

John McClaughry recently wrote a column, "Sander's Medicare-For-All Pipe Dream." John is not a fan of Senator Sanders or government-sponsored healthcare, so his opinion was quite predictable.

For an honest look at how health insurance companies operate, I recommend following Wendell Potter (WendellPotter.com). He says, "As a senior public relations executive, or 'spinmeister,' for two decades with two of the largest for-profit health insurance companies in the US, Humana and CIGNA...I helped create and perpetuate myths that had no other purpose but to sustain those companies' extraordinary high profitability." He quit his lucrative 6-figure-salary job at CIGNA in May 2008.

He has excellent articles on his website including, "Free Market Ideology Doesn't Work for Health Care," and "For-Profit Hospitals Mark Up Prices By More Than 1,000 Percent Because There's Nothing To Stop Them."

In his book, Deadly Spin, he confesses, "If you are among those who believe that the US has 'the best health care system in the world' despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it's because my fellow spinmeisters and I succeeded brilliantly at what we were paid very well to do with your premium dollars."

When he testified before congress on June 24, 2009, he began, "My name is Wendell Potter and for 20 years, I worked as a senior executive at health insurance companies, and I saw how they confuse their customers and dump the sick...all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors."

If you believe that cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's and thousands of other diseases are mere commodities...something that Big Pharma and insurance companies should make a profit on, then by all mean, listen to John McClaughry. If you believe it's perfectly acceptable that part of your insurance premium helps pay outrageous salaries to company CEO's (Humana and CIGNA CEO's each get around $20 million a year), by all means, listen to John McClaughry.

Or you can listen to Wendell Potter, an insurance insider who, after a crisis of conscience, realized that for 20 years he had been committed to increasing insurance company profits, no matter the cost to the American public. He realized that he was partly responsible for the 45,000 Americans who died each year because of inadequate or no health insurance. He freely admits that he was part of the problem. Now he is trying to be part of the solution, making sure that every American has access to affordable healthcare. Medicare-For-All definitely is NOT a pipe dream!

Marion Mohri
Wheelock, Vt.