Wendell Potter, the former head of corporate communications for health insurance giant CIGNA, has a new post today on the Center for Public Integrity's website, "Obamacare's Crucial Benefits." It discusses the Kaiser Family Foundation's Employer Health Benefits 2012 Annual Survey, the results of which came out last week.
Potter details the bad news ("the average premium for employer-sponsored health coverage has reached a record high of $15,745" and "the percentage of workers enrolled in plans with an annual deductible of $1,000 or more has increased from 10 percent in 2006 to 34 percent in 2012," among other depressing statistics), and the less bad news ("premiums have increased on average only 4 percent over the past year, the lowest rate of increase in years"), and comes to the conclusion that Obamacare will do good for those Americans who are one medical bill away from bankruptcy.
If ObamaCare goes forward, beginning in 2014, the law will set a cap on out-of-pocket spending. That cap will still be too high to keep some of us out of bankruptcy court. If the law is repealed, however, many more of us undoubtedly will wind up there.
Potter's whistleblowing book, Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Healthcare and Deceiving Americans, for which he received the 2011 Ridenhour Book Prize, is his exposé of America's multibillion-dollar healthcare industry. From clandestine meetings carefully organized to leave no paper trail to creating third-party front groups, Potter reveals how a PR juggernaut creates an atmosphere of fear and distortion. He details the smear campaign that he helped to devise against Michael Moore's filmSicko, including misleading talking points that were subsequently repeated on CNN, Fox, and in the pages of USA Today. Potter later apologized to Moore, saying, "I am sorry for the part that I played in attacking the movie… I knew when I saw it the first time that you had really gotten a lot of it right, and I was really not happy at all to be part of the effort to discredit the movie."
The nomination forms for the 2013 Ridenhour Prizes are now available here; the nomination deadline is December 1, 2012.