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In my twenty five years as a primary care physician, I have seen hundreds of instances of working Americans in rural and urban areas denied critical health care needs (Broken arm that a patient could not afford the required surgery to repair, twenty year old unable to afford the MRI or arthroscopic surgery to fix probable torn knee cartilage, etc) because they could not afford the costs of health insurance. I had suspected several of the health insurance tactics Mr Potter details in this insightful, hard hitting expose.
Bob Bland, CEO of Lifequotes, Inc
Horrible Book - avoid it at all cost.
Deadly Spin is a unique book for many reasons.
Mr Potter's credentials make him the perfect nightmare for the health insurance companies of this country. As former VP of corporate communication at CIGNA he has a working knowledge of all the tactics used by the masters of spin.
This book shows the lengths health insurance companies (as well as tobacco, petroleum, coal mining giants) will go to confuse and deceive the people of America in order to enhance their profit margins. If you want to comprehend US political and economic current events, this book is essential reading.
Mr Potter also includes a fascinating historical time line of public relations in this country, including a piece on the "Torches of Freedom" used by women's rights marchers duped into smoking cigarettes by an early spin-meister.
His play-by-play write ups of the Clinton and Obama attempts to pass meaningful health care legislation enable one to see what was occurring behind the scenes in the halls of corporate power and perhaps understand those events for the first time.
James Reynolds, MD
I think that Wendell Potter is a total fraud and that Deadly Spin is highly inaccurate, ill-researched and sloppily written.
If Wendell Potter truly spent 20 years lying to us as a corporate PR stiff as he claims, he needs to get into a confessional because he hasn't stopped yet now that he's a freelance author bashing his former employers. Wendell Potter is nothing but a shill for the embarrassing Obama Administration and its socialized medicine agenda. Potter is a blatant socialist hack of the first degree.
I'm running into so many lies by Wendell Potter early in Deadly Spin that it's laughable... here are 3 within the first few pages of Deadly Spin:
#1: In the very first sentence of your book Wendell Potter makes the oft-repeated, but false accusation that "45,000 die in America every year because they have no health insurance" which, while great bluster, ignores the fact that the current American health care system is setup to provide free health care for those who cannot afford health insurance. So instead of clarifying the "health care vs. health insurance" difference, Deadly Spin opens with that oft-repeated lie.
#2: There are no "greedy" profits or high profits at CIGNA. Over the past 3 years profits at CIGNA are nothing to write home about in terms of profit margins. Average net profit margin for the 3 year period ended Dec. 2009 ($2.7b on $55.1b in revenues) comes in under 5, mediocre and not even noteworthy for the insurance industry and not eye-popping or noteworthy for any industry for that matter. If a business I'm dealing with makes a 5 profit on me and provides a service worth my money - who cares? (Profits at Google and Microsoft, for example, are around 40, not 5, and look how popular those companies are. I don't think customers care about profit margins)
#3. The "47th in life expectancy at birth behind Bosnia" is a well-crafted lie woven together by U.N. sponsored countries and organizations such as WHO (World Health Organization) who hate America. They spew out inaccurate and highly misleading statistics in hopes dump people will believe them.
Fact: the U.S. is #1 in saving premature babies, proven by the fact that only in the U.S. will 997 out of every 1,000 babies carried to term be living on year later - no country on earth compares to this statistic or even comes close, which is why nobody you know travels to Bosnia or Cuba for healthcare and never will. The U.S. leads the world in saving premature babies and often spends up to $750,000 in doing so; no other country is this generous. According to the University of Iowa, 72 of tiny, premature babies less than 14 oz. at birth are born in the U.S. Moreover, infant mortality in the U.S. is tied to our highly unique culture and population demographics. Many women in U.S. delay having babies until they are 35, 40 or even older. This negatively affects infant mortality stats. Our advanced fertility treatment programs also produce many more multiple-infant births that any other country on earth, which greatly increases chance of a baby dying pre-birth. And countries that rank ahead of us in life expectancy are small, even tiny countries like Iceland, who has a homogeneous population of 300,000 - less than Rockford, IL. The U.S. conversely, is a huge nation of immigrants who often bring chronic and critical healthcare issues with them across the border. Japan's population is 99 homegeneous, while the U.S. is heterogeneous at 67 Caucasian, 14 Hispanic, 12 black and 4 Asian. We're nothing like Japan, Iceland or Sweden and providing healthcare to these different groups is enormously expensive because we thus have so many healthcare exposures that the other countries don't have. Your refusal to recognize the huge socio-demographic differences between the U.S. (a melting pot like no other on earth) vs. other counties is a lie of omission.