Bill Moyers speaks with former insurance insider/pr man

Discussion in 'Healthcare/Insurance/Govt Healthcare' started by Life_Long_Dem!, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. Life_Long_Dem!
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    Life_Long_Dem! Member

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    watched the show on friday with a guy who was the pr man/heavy insider for insurance and he spoke volumes on what is going on with healthcare today and the plans in congress...here is a partial transcript with some of the better highlights:


    BILL MOYERS: Why is public insurance, a public option, so fiercely opposed by the industry?

    WENDELL POTTER: The industry doesn't want to have any competitor. In fact, over the course of the last few years, has been shrinking the number of competitors through a lot of acquisitions and mergers. So first of all, they don't want any more competition period. They certainly don't want it from a government plan that might be operating more efficiently than they are, that they operate. The Medicare program that we have here is a government-run program that has administrative expenses that are like three percent or so.

    BILL MOYERS: Compared to the industry's--

    WENDELL POTTER: They spend about 20 cents of every premium dollar on overhead, which is administrative expense or profit. So they don't want to compete against a more efficient competitor.

    BILL MOYERS: You told Congress that the industry has hijacked our health care system and turned it into a giant ATM for Wall Street. You said, "I saw how they confuse their customers and dump the sick, all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors." How do they satisfy their Wall Street investors?

    WENDELL POTTER: Well, there's a measure of profitability that investors look to, and it's called a medical loss ratio. And it's unique to the health insurance industry. And by medical loss ratio, I mean that it's a measure that tells investors or anyone else how much of a premium dollar is used by the insurance company to actually pay medical claims. And that has been shrinking, over the years, since the industry's been dominated by, or become dominated by for-profit insurance companies. Back in the early '90s, or back during the time that the Clinton plan was being debated, 95 cents out of every dollar was sent, you know, on average was used by the insurance companies to pay claims. Last year, it was down to just slightly above 80 percent.

    So, investors want that to keep shrinking. And if they see that an insurance company has not done what they think meets their expectations with the medical loss ratio, they'll punish them. Investors will start leaving in droves.

    I've seen a company stock price fall 20 percent in a single day, when it did not meet Wall Street's expectations with this medical loss ratio.

    BILL MOYERS: And they do what to make sure that they keep diminishing the medical loss ratio?

    WENDELL POTTER: Rescission is one thing. Denying claims is another. Being, you know, really careful as they review claims, particularly for things like liver transplants, to make sure, from their point of view, that it really is medically necessary and not experimental. That's one thing. And that was that issue in the Nataline Sarkisyan case.

    But another way is to purge employer accounts, that-- if a small business has an employee, for example, who suddenly has have a lot of treatment, or is in an accident. And medical bills are piling up, and this employee is filing claims with the insurance company. That'll be noticed by the insurance company.

    And when that business is up for renewal, and it typically is up, once a year, up for renewal, the underwriters will look at that. And they'll say, "We need to jack up the rates here, because the experience was," when I say experience, the claim experience, the number of claims filed was more than we anticipated. So we need to jack up the price. Jack up the premiums. Often they'll do this, knowing that the employer will have no alternative but to leave. And that happens all the time.

    BILL MOYERS: So, the more of my premium that goes to my health claims, pays for my medical coverage, the less money the company makes.

    WENDELL POTTER: That's right. Exactly right.

    BILL MOYERS: So they want to reverse that. They don't want my premium to go for my health care, right?

    WENDELL POTTER: Exactly right. They--

    BILL MOYERS: Where does it go?

    WENDELL POTTER: Well, a big chunk of it goes into shareholders' pockets. It's returned to them as part of the investment to them. It goes into the exorbitant salaries that a lot of the executives make. It goes into paying sales, marketing, and underwriting expenses. So a lot of it goes to pay those kinds of administrative functions. Overhead.

    BILL MOYERS: When a member of Congress asked the three executives who appeared before the committee-- if they would end the practice of canceling policies for sick enrollees, they refused. Why did they refuse?

    WENDELL POTTER: Well, they were talking to Wall Street at that moment. They were saying that because-- I guess they might have to spend some additional dollars to be more vigilant, to make sure that they were not rescinding a policy inappropriately. It makes no sense. The only reason they would have said that is to cover themselves and to send a signal to Wall Street that you know, we're going to continue business as usual here.

    BILL MOYERS: You know, I've been around a long time. And I have to say, I just don't get this. I just don't understand how the corporations can oppose a plan that gives the unhealthy people a chance to be covered. And they don't want to do it themselves.

    WENDELL POTTER: Well, keep in mind, what they want to do is enhance their profits. Enhance shareholder value. That's number one. And the way that the business that they're in is health care, certainly. But their primary motivation is to reward their shareholders.

    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07312009/transcript4.html
     
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  2. WillowTree
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    WillowTree Diamond Member

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    you should get your presidente to declare "National We Hate Insurance Companies" Week. I love watching you hate festers pick yer targets! It's so funny.. :lol::lol::lol:
     
  3. Life_Long_Dem!
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    Life_Long_Dem! Member

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    did you even bother to read it willow....you should so you can educate yourself a bit...this man spent 15 years doing what he was told to do by his bosses and is finally speaking out against the industry.
     
  4. Emma
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    Emma Evil Liberal Leftist™

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    What's funny is watching people get bent out of shape and screaming about 'rationing' and denial of services when this has been happening for years. The primary goal of health insurance companies isn't to provide their customers with healthcare, it is to deny as much as possible. That's how they make money.
     
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  5. WillowTree
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    WillowTree Diamond Member

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    listen to me LLD I honestly did not read it, and know what? I'm surprised you take as gospel what is written/said in today's political atmosphere. Hasn't it been proven to you that people sit and say stuff they think is "politically" correct. Scott McClellan comes to mind.. but hey,, when he testifies under oath, and passes a lie detector test I might give credence to his claims.. right now it just looks as if the left dug him out to "testify" after pop up Pelosi started braying about the evil insurance companies being the villain. dosen't it?
     
  6. WillowTree
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    so why spend an extra trillion dollars for people to get denied health care if we are presently doing it cheaper??? :lol::lol::lol::lol:
     
  7. Emma
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    Emma Evil Liberal Leftist™

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    Um. Potter was testifying and being interviewed on this subject long before Pelosi's 'villians' remark.

    http://commerce.senate.gov/public/_files/PotterTestimonyConsumerHealthInsurance.pdf

    For example...
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009
  8. Life_Long_Dem!
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    does this sound like someone the left just"dug" out or a man that decided on his own to speak out......he spoke to congress AGAINST what the lobbists are doing well before goin on moyers show

    BILL MOYERS: Wendell Potter joins us now. Welcome to the Journal.

    WENDELL POTTER: Thank you very much for having me here.

    BILL MOYERS: You worked for CIGNA 15 years and left last year.

    WENDELL POTTER: I did.

    BILL MOYERS: Were you pushed out?

    WENDELL POTTER: I was not. I left-- it was my decision to leave, and my decision to leave when I did.

    BILL MOYERS: Were you passed over for a promotion?

    WENDELL POTTER: Absolutely not. No.

    BILL MOYERS: Had you been well-paid and rewarded by the company?

    WENDELL POTTER: Very well-paid. And I, over the years, had many job opportunities, many bonuses, salary increases. So no, I was not. And in fact, there was no further place for me to go in the company. I was head of corporate communications and that was the ultimate P.R. job.

    BILL MOYERS: Did you like your boss and the people you work with?

    WENDELL POTTER: I did, and still do. I still respect them.

    BILL MOYERS: And they gave you a terrific party when you left?

    WENDELL POTTER: They sure did, yeah.

    BILL MOYERS: So then why are you speaking out now?

    WENDELL POTTER: I didn't intend to, until it became really clear to me that the industry is resorting to the same tactics they've used over the years, and particularly back in the early '90s, when they were leading the effort to kill the Clinton plan.

    BILL MOYERS: But during this 15 years you were there, did you go to them and say, "You know, I think we're on the wrong side. I think we're fighting the wrong people here."

    WENDELL POTTER: You know, I didn't, because for most of the time I was there, I felt that what we were doing was the right thing. And that I was playing on a team that was honorable. I just didn't really get it all that much until toward the end of my tenure at CIGNA.
     
  9. Emma
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    Emma Evil Liberal Leftist™

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    It's all right-wing scare tactics and distortions.
     
  10. Bfgrn
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    Bfgrn Gold Member

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    Willow has a "preexisting condition"...stupidity...

    People like Willow will only have an epiphany when SHE is the one denied coverage...
     
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