When Academy Award-winning film director Michael Moore announced he would be making a documentary about the American healthcare system in 2004, it put the health insurance industry on high alert.
One person who immediately went on the offensive was Wendell Potter, who at the time was the chief spokesperson for insurance giant CIGNA. Last year, Potter became the industry’s most prominent whistleblower.
We speak with him about his role in attacking Michael Moore, his film Sicko, and the movement for a single-payer healthcare system.
“We felt that this movie would have such an impact that it would really pave the way for legislation to be passed that could be very detrimental to the insurance industry. So it was very important for the insurers to attack this movie as fiercely as possible,” Potter said. “We developed a very, very sophisticated communications campaign to make sure that people saw him [Moore] as a Marxist, as a socialist, and that he was going to be destroying the American Dream.”
Wendell Potter is now the Senior Fellow on Health Care for the Center for Media and Democracy. He has a new book out, Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans. This is part of an extensive interview with Wendell Potter.