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American-style health care system pushed in Canada

By Wendell Potter

Canada's conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to remake nation's health care system.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… mbia — During the year leading up to the 2008 presidential primaries, my insurance industry colleagues and I were working hard to influence the debate on hea …"

"… erican donors, AHIP put together a three-ring binder of talking points for insurance company executives  to use in speeches and media interviews. The con …"

"… o satisfy shareholders’ profit expectations created a situation in which insurance companies refused to sell coverage to people who’ve been sick in the pas …"

The health care industry's campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: health insurers use a host of tactics to erode support for Obamacare.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… ealthcare Leadership Council, a coalition that encompasses executives from insurance companies, drug and medical device makers, biotech firms and hospitals. I …"

"… w because I participated in many meetings of the HLC during my years as an insurance industry executive. The campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt — or FU …"

"… aking shape. But let’s first go back to the spring of 2007. Both health insurance premiums and the number of uninsured Americans were continuing to skyrocke …"

"… lear the point that Americans were losing confidence in the private health insurance market. As I described in my book, Deadly Spin, McInturff’s first slide …"

Dizzying array of options in Obamacare can lead to expensive mistakes

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Health insurers offer a wide range of plans on exchanges, customers should pay attention to the details.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… nrollment ends on March 31, if you want to get coverage through the health insurance marketplace and avoid having to pay a penalty, you should log on sooner ra …"

"… te to do. Lawmakers who wrote the Affordable Care Act fell for the health insurance industry’s insistence that Americans want “choice and competition.” …"

"… or of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation, knows more about health insurance than most of us. She spent quite a bit of time last fall on the Colorado e …"

"… do it over again, she would have taken the additional step of calling the insurance companies directly after reviewing the plans they were offering on the exc …"

New Fed study says health reform can reduce financial stress

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Massachusetts law eases financial stress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… mit for any health plan offered on the state and federally operated health insurance exchanges is $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family. While tha …"

"… ureau — it still represents a significant improvement. Prior to the ACA, insurance companies were able to sell policies that had no out-of-pocket maximums. I …"

"… ressed concern that while the ACA will reduce the number of people without insurance, it might increase the number of people who are under-insured. That …"

Pay no attention to those insurance lobbyists behind the Medicare curtain!

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: 'grass-roots' campaign actually comes from health insurers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… ge,” the alternative to traditional Medicare that is operated by private insurance companies. The real sponsor of the ads is the real tenant of 601 Pennsylv …"

"… g and PR outfits in the nation’s capital. As I noted last week, several insurance companies make a boatload of money by participating in the Medicare Advant …"

"… And there was this thinly veiled threat in the POLITICO story from “an insurance industry source familiar with the campaign:” “If CMS doesn’t keep M …"

Selective outrage over federal health care costs

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Conservatives slam risk fund for insurers, but have nothing to say about Medicare Advantage.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… wn as the Medicare Advantage program. …"

"… s by conservatives that Obamacare will actually result in a bailout of big insurance companies. Under the headline, “Bailing Out Health Insurers and Helping …"

"… it potential initial losses of insurers selling policies on the new health insurance exchanges. I reminded the FOX producer that Republicans have been support …"

"… Act knew that insurers would be reluctant to participate in the new health insurance exchanges — also called marketplaces — if the government didn’t crea …"

Obamacare and emergency rooms: a bit of perspective needed

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Oregon study cited by critics requires perspective.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… t even more crowded. And that’s because more Americans will finally have insurance.  Reform advocates have long suggested that getting folks out of the …"

"… costly care from hospitals’ emergency rooms. ‘Those of us with health insurance are also paying a hidden and growing tax for those without it — about $1 …"

"… a bit of twisted logic in that paragraph. It is true that those of us with insurance pay considerably more for it because those who don’t have it often can …"

"… e” to its insured customers. Researchers have estimated that people with insurance pay $1,000 more a year for it than they would if this cost shifting didn …"

Shining a light on ALEC's power to shape policy

By Wendell Potter

Conservative group's power has been under-covered.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… programs to private insurers to letting them market highly profitable junk insurance. While ALEC-member legislators hail from every state, the organization ha …"

"… s model bills were introduced in Virginia alone last year. In addition to insurance companies like State Farm and UnitedHealthcare, ALEC’s corporate members …"

Sorting out why insurers cancel policies

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: blaming Obamacare masks real motives.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… fordable Care Act. …"

"… her insurers will take him up on the offer. The answer: it depends. Some insurance executives will view the offer as one they can’t turn down. Even though …"

"… od to say about Obama’s proposal, keep in mind that she doesn’t run an insurance company.  While industry executives look to her to comment on what po …"

"… them are having to switch plans not because of Obamacare but because their insurance companies want to move them into policies with higher profit margins. Ins …"

Separating myth from reality on Obamacare

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: media scare stories, website snafus obscure opportunities to save.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… s among the many Americans who in recent weeks received letters from their insurance companies saying that their policies won’t be available next year. Insu …"

"… . It turns out Robert wasn’t willing to just wait. He decided to call an insurance agent and talk to a real live human being about his options for next year. …"

"… icker shock he had been expecting, he will save $1,400 next year on health insurance. The plan he is leaning toward — a top-of-the line “platinum” plan …"

"… it’s likely that more people will get more for their insurance buck next year than less. In addition, most of the people who buy coverag …"

What Congress didn't say: Obamacare outlaws policies that are essentially worthless

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Obamacare outlaws worthless policies that insurers loved to sell.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… g materials. Insurers have made billions in profits from selling such junk insurance, and people like Blackburn clearly want to get rid of the law that makes j …"

"… d people like Blackburn clearly want to get rid of the law that makes junk insurance illegal. As I wrote in Deadly Spin, a years-long industry strategy has be …"

"… and more medical expenses to patients. As part of that strategy, big insurance firms bought smaller companies that specialize in limited-benefit plans, w …"

"… limited-benefit plans, which often provide such skimpy coverage that some insurance brokers have refused to sell them. Cigna, for example, marketed a limited …"

Beginning of the end for major health insurers

By Wendell Potter

Kickoff of new law will expose irrelevance of big insurers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… business, like data management.  …"

"… ober 1, 2014, that law will signify the beginning of the end of the health insurance industry as we know it. As I’ve noted previously, my former CEO at Cign …"

"… ership retreat that what kept him up at night was the fear that big health insurance corporations might someday be viewed as unnecessary middlemen, that their …"

"… lue proposition” would come under scrutiny and found to be wanting. That insurance companies would, to use his term, be disintermediated. That day has arriv …"

Reader-approved analysis from Wendell Potter

By Sarah Whitmire

Revisit some of the best analysis from former health insurance exec-turned-whistleblower, Wendell Potter.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… bsp;  …"

"… ealth care reform. Potter spent 15 years helping one of the biggest health insurance companies in the U.S. spin and craft its message, but since 2009, he’s i …"

"… y a public plan like Medicare or Medicaid must buy coverage from a private insurance company. The second provision: establishment of state health insurance mar …"

"… ate insurance company. The second provision: establishment of state health insurance marketplaces (called exchanges in the law) where private insurers compete …"

Unions chafing at Obamacare provisions

By Wendell Potter

Labor leaders say big business was mollified at their expense.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… ng for that sooner rather than later. …"

"… en unionized workers the same consideration they gave business leaders and insurance company executives when the Affordable Care Act was being drafted. As ful …"

"… ore time addressing the concerns of the business community, especially the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, than their friends and reliable allies in t …"

"… ear were lobbyists for doctors and hospitals, drug makers and, of course, insurance companies. Perhaps that shouldn’t have surprised us, given the politica …"

The fiction of Obamacare 'rate shock'

By Wendell Potter

Scare tactics aside, Obamacare rates will be lower for many.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… stituents in a Congressional hearing. …"

"… ‘Rate Shock’ as Some insurance Premiums to Double in 2014.” Health insurance executives were hoping we’d swallow their scare campaign on rates, and t …"

"… was really the blame or if, possibly, and more likely, those businesses’ insurance carriers were just gouging them. Five and a half months later, I’m still …"

"… shock” allegations were based on anything other than assertions made by insurance company CEOs and lobbyists and their buddies on Capitol Hill. ----------- …"

Fear-mongering won't scuttle Obamacare

By Wendell Potter

Opponents want to scuttle health reform, but time is running out.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… it has been about winning elections. …"

"… reds of millions of dollars already — with much of that cash coming from insurance companies and their business pals worried about shrinking profit margins …"

"… actually think the law doesn’t go far enough to protect us from abusive insurance companies and money-hungry doctors and hospitals. This means that those wh …"

OPINION: doing 'as much harm as possible' to Florida's insured

By Wendell Potter

OPINION: Florida law blocks state insurance commissioner from regulating rates.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… ey aren’t, folks in Florida are facing having to pay far more for health insurance over the next two years than necessary. And health insurance executives wi …"

"… re for health insurance over the next two years than necessary. And health insurance executives will be laughing all the way to the bank. Florida state lawmak …"

"… macare in the Sunshine State, recently passed a law that will allow health insurance companies to gouge Floridians more than any corporate boss dreamed was pos …"

"… the federal government that would have enabled the state’s department of insurance to do a better job of regulating health insurers and enforcing new consume …"

Obamacare facts separated from spin by Wendell Potter, FactCheck.org

By Bill Buzenberg

Navigating the politicized issue of the Affordable Care Act is made easier by Wendell Potter and FactCheck.org.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… ber of fallacies (it’s a job killer, it’s a federal takeover of health insurance, etc.) “seem to be congealing into accepted wisdom. Much of this is the …"

"… s gone largely unchallenged by gun-shy Democrats.” With new state health insurance marketplaces (known in the law as exchanges) set to enroll people in cover …"

"… for Public Integrity’s own myth-buster. Wendell is a former health insurance industry insider-turned-whistleblower who writes with clarity and insight …"

"… y a public plan like Medicare or Medicaid must buy coverage from a private insurance company. The second provision is that the state health insurance mark …"

Obamacare's hidden battle: insurance agents push state regulation of guides to new marketplaces

By Nicholas Kusnetz

Insurance agents talk state legislators into regulating Obamacare's consumer helpers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… health care overhaul in decades, the industry associations that represent insurance agents and brokers caught wind of an obscure provision. The plan called f …"

"… people use the new online marketplaces created by the law to choose among insurance plans and enroll in coverage. The navigator program garnered little atten …"

"… ble Care Act did include a navigator program — but that hasn’t stopped insurance agents and brokers from fighting against it. Over the past three years, th …"

"… de — a push receiving crucial aid from a legislators’ group focused on insurance policy that is supported with industry funds. Backers of the laws say the …"

OPINION: making the tough health care calls

By Wendell Potter

Independent Payment Advisory Board may be best hope for trimming costs, eliminating unnecessary procedures.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… the billions. What Washington state is doing resembles what many private insurance companies do, including Cigna, where I used to work. Insurers have their o …"

The other Washington could hold the key to Medicare's cost crisis

By Joe Eaton

Washington state won't pay for medical procedures that don't work. Why can't Medicare do that?

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… are’s fiscal health contained a shred of good news — the public health insurance program for the elderly is burning through cash at a slightly slower rate …"

"… evaluates medical procedures and devices paid for by state public employee insurance, worker’s compensation and Medicaid, the joint federal-state insurance p …"

"… e insurance, worker’s compensation and Medicaid, the joint federal-state insurance program for low-income individuals and families. The assessment program is …"

"… would have saved billions. Limiting or rationing care paid for by public insurance programs is at the center of the broader health policy debates and pits fi …"

OPINION: insurance tricks to avoid ObamaCare's consumer protections

By Wendell Potter

Firms pushing early renewals to avoid ObamaCare protections

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… ust not the way they operate. …"

"… he most important consumer protections in the new health care law kick in, insurance industry executives are engaging in a practice they call “prairie doggin …"

"… vulnerable — in response to a commotion made by predators, in this case insurance companies.    I first heard about this several weeks ago. Aetna …"

"… must reflect new regulations that are popular with the public —but that insurance executives worry might squeeze their profit margins.  Starting on tha …"

OPINION: delay in employer mandate shouldn't obscure Obamacare's benefits

By Wendell Potter

Delay for employer mandate shouldn't obscure benefits of health care law.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… n to postpone for a year the requirement that large employers offer health insurance to their workers has been characterized by pundits on the left as a capitu …"

"… to go into effect January 1, 2014. In less than six months, for instance, insurance companies will no longer be able to refuse to sell coverage to anyone beca …"

"… afford to buy private coverage because of the discriminatory practices of insurance firms.   In addition, in less than three months, people who can’t …"

"… yer-subsidized health coverage. By making the discriminatory practices of insurance firms unlawful, which will bring to an end their ability to cherry pick on …"

State campaign contribution limits on the rise

By Adam Wollner

Individual campaign contribution limits are on the rise as states hedge against super PACs.

OPINION: putting big health insurers in their place

By Wendell Potter

New exchanges are better off without the big insurers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… made the wrong kind of headlines in California a few days back. The health insurance giant said it plans to stop selling individual coverage in the state and w …"

"… er been able to muster much of a market share in California’s individual insurance market. Three other insurance companies with a much longer history in …"

"… rket share in California’s individual insurance market. Three other insurance companies with a much longer history in the state — Anthem Blue Cross, B …"

"… collectively control about 90 percent of the Golden State’s individual insurance market. Aetna didn’t make a big effort to increase its share of that ma …"

OPINION: Pro-industry amendments lard up Missouri insurance legislation

By Wendell Potter

OPINION: Simple health insurance bill in Missouri becomes industry dream, consumer nightmare.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… ents added at the last minute that will result in a financial windfall for insurance companies, agents and brokers at the expense of residents. SB 262 would e …"

"… haring be “reasonable” and allow HMOs to impose high deductibles and coinsurance — up to $3,100 for an individual and $6,250 for a family — in addition …"

"… ent of insurance would have to review and approve a new or modified health insurance policy. If the department doesn’t act within 45 days, the policy would b …"

"… n’t act within 45 days, the policy would be deemed approved. Most state insurance departments already are inadequately staffed and resourced. Cutting the re …"

OPINION: the peril of Obamacare's promise

By Wendell Potter

President's pledge may not be kept, but consumers could still benefit.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… peechwriters were paying attention to what has been going on in the health insurance world, they would have found some other way of saying what Obama reportedl …"

"… t coverage. In other words, people would not have to give up their private insurance and enroll in a government-run plan, even though many consumer advocates b …"

"… vidual market — will soon go away. That is unless, as I wrote last week, insurance companies are able to take advantage of loopholes in the law that will ena …"

"… age of loopholes in the law that will enable them to continue selling junk insurance. Banning junk insurance is a good thing for consumers, but making such po …"

OPINION: a cynical search for loopholes

By Wendell Potter

Insurers find ways to avoid 'essential benefits'.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… ars they've hit pay dirt. The provision of the law mandating that all new insurance policies must cover certain "essential" benefits will take effect January …"

"… ry 1, 2014. From that date forward, all polices offered on the online insurance marketplaces in every state must cover ten categories of benefits that ran …"

"… bt as the leading cause of bankruptcies, even among people who have health insurance. That's because a lot of the policies being sold today have such limited b …"

"… ama administration pertaining to employers are being interpreted by health insurance benefits consultants as applying only to small businesses that buy coverag …"

OPINION: ObamaCare myths and realities

By Wendell Potter

Insurance exchanges will introduce real competition.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… y a public plan like Medicare or Medicaid must buy coverage from a private insurance company. The second provision: establishment of state health insuranc …"

"… nsurance company. The second provision: establishment of state health insurance marketplaces (called exchanges in the law) where private insurers compete …"

"… effective January 1, the date the GOP-inspired requirement to have health insurance kicks in. The reason Republicans once liked health insurance exchanges is …"

"… have health insurance kicks in. The reason Republicans once liked health insurance exchanges is that in theory they will facilitate choice and competition, w …"

OPINION: health reform to be political fodder in 2014

By Wendell Potter

Will implementation of health care act result in 'train wreck'?

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… of uninsured Americans by several million and has limited price gouging by insurance companies — represents the best hope that many Republicans will have of …"

"… tunity once again. There no doubt will be glitches when the online health insurance exchanges go live on October 1 for the relatively small percentage of Amer …"

"… use them to shop for coverage because their employers don’t offer health insurance as an employee benefit. The exchanges will work just fine for the vast maj …"

"… been paying relatively low premiums for what they don’t realize is junk insurance will be upset when junk insurance is outlawed next year. Because real insu …"

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