Democracy Now! reported the most important news story of the year, exposing the deceptive marketing practices of health care providers.
Amy Goodman interviewed former CIGNA employee Wendell Potter, whose book Deadly Spin detailed his work as chief spokesperson for the health insurer. In his two-part interview, Potter claims he had a major role in a campaign to defame and destroy the credibility of Academy Award winning documentary director Michael Moore.
In a strategy session with the other major health care providers, Potter alleges that health care executives were nervous over what the content in Moore’s 2007 film Sicko would reveal about standard industry practices. Many of the large health care providers, including Potter’s CIGNA, implemented plans to counteract the film’s message.
The most explosive claim in interview comes early on when Potter says, “[S]pecial interests, and the insurance industry, in particular, will use premium dollars to funnel thousands and thousands, if not millions, of dollars to big PR firms to set up fake grassroots organizations — astroturf, as we call it — and front groups.”
The absurdity of America’s health care system is wrapped up in Potter’s quote. Unfortunately, it seems as if the whole American political system is irrevocably broke. Americans apparently elect politicians, who quickly show that they are ill-equipped to fight off the influence health care lobbyist. These lobbyist work directly against the interests of the people, yet no one seems to want to change the system completely.
Marketing firms continue to influence the decisions of American voters. In 2010, election spending soared upwards toward 4 billion dollars. No one can possibly make an informed decision when most of their knowledge comes from one-sided ads.
As long as Americans continue to debate Medicare-for-all versus full-scale privatization of the health care, Americans will continue to die from preventable diseases.
Our major news outlets continue to drop the ball on these debates because they rely on advertising from health care providers, pharmaceutical companies, and food corporations. Consequently, they’ll never ask the fundamental questions or frame a fully contextualized conversation on important issues, effectively disarming Americans ability to demand accountability and transparency from the these powerful entities.
This story should reverberate throughout America, and we here at Frugivore are confident this story will galvanize Americans to push the Obama Administration towards standing up for Americans when it comes to health care.
What do you think about the influence marketing has on the important decisions of American voters?