We haven’t been blogging much on national health reform here at CT Health Notes. No need for it – that space is crowded with great blogs at the national level. Like everyone else, we’ve been following them and “official” developments closely. But yesterday something extraordinary happened. A former insider at two large insurance companies opened his testimony on Capitol Hill with
“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. I know from
personal experience that members of Congress and the public have good reason to
question the honesty and trustworthiness of the insurance industry. Insurers
make promises they have no intention of keeping, they flout regulations designed
to protect consumers, and they make it nearly impossible to understand—or even
to obtain—information we need.”
He went on to say,
“The average family doesn’t understand how Wall Street’s dictates determine
whether they will be offered coverage, whether they can keep it, and how much
they’ll be charged for it.”
He describes the single minded priority within companies for ever-rising stock values and profit. Investors are only interested in earnings per share and medical loss ratios. Not only is his testimony a refreshing and detailed look at how insurance companies do business, it is good reading. He must have been very good as chief of communications.
The industry’s responses are about what you’d expect.