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Publisher's Summary

"My name is Wendell Potter, and for 20 years I worked as a senior executive at health insurance companies. I saw how they confuse their customers and dump the sick---all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors." ---Senate testimony, June 24, 2009

Wendell Potter is the insurance industry's worst nightmare. In June 2009, Wendell Potter made national headlines with his scorching testimony before the Senate panel on health care reform. This former senior vice president of CIGNA explained how health insurers make promises they have no intention of keeping, how they flout regulations designed to protect consumers, and how they skew political debate with multibillion-dollar public relations campaigns designed to spread disinformation. Potter had walked away from a six-figure salary and two decades as an insurance executive because he could no longer abide the routine practices of an industry where the needs of sick and suffering Americans take a backseat to the bottom line. The last straw: when he visited a rural health clinic and saw hundreds of people standing in line in the rain to receive treatment in stalls built for livestock.

In Deadly Spin, Potter takes listeners behind the scenes to show how a huge chunk of our absurd health care spending actually bankrolls a propaganda campaign and lobbying effort focused on protecting one thing: profits. Whatever the fate of the current health care legislation, it makes no attempt to change that fundamental problem. Potter shows how relentless PR assaults play an insidious role in our political process anywhere that corporate profits are at stake---from climate change to defense policy. Deadly Spin tells us why---and how---we must fight back.

©2010 Wendell Potter Consulting, LLC (P)2010 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"The ideal whistleblower...his testimony [is] logical, specific, and convincing." ( Time)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This book is eye opening

Written by the man who used to be head of Public Relations at Cigna, one of the largest health insurers in the world, Potter gives readers a detailed, behind the scenes look at pretty much every duplicitous PR campaign over the last 50 years undertaken by the health insurance lobby to derail and delay meaningful health reform in this country. Potter holds nothing back, and really paints a vivid picture of just how unethical these companies are in their pursuit of profit to please their masters on Wall Street and Wall Street's inexorable earnings expectations.

Obamacare did not fix the health care crisis in this country, and it's thanks to effective PR spin campaigns (run by people like Potter) that the health care reform bill Obama signed into law was less effective than it could have been. This battle will have to be fought again. Until then, premiums will continue to sky rocket and people will continue to die when they get sick and their health care insurer refuses to pay for the treatment to make them better. Potter explains the entire story in a coherent, easy to read manner, and is truly fascinating with the statistics he presents. You won't be able to put the book down (or in this case -- stop listening).

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Randy
  • Portland, OR, United States
  • 01-11-11

Must Read

This is a book that every American should read. Well written and compelling message about the nature of corporate America, the mass media and political action.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent read! Everyone should hear this one!

Would you consider the audio edition of Deadly Spin to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version yet, but the audio was excellent. I did order the print version because there is so much information in it that I want to remember and share with others.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Deadly Spin?

When he quit his job and became a whistle blower.

Have you listened to any of Patrick Lawlor’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, I have heard Patrick's performance in Three Cups of Tea. This was a much different story, but his performance was great.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

BEWARE of the Spin!

Any additional comments?

We are not naive and all know that we are being manipulated, but do we know just how much? I was amazed to hear to what extent we are manipulated.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Boring but VERY Informative

What did you love best about Deadly Spin?

The information, and that it came from an insider.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Deadly Spin?

Not only talking about the Health industry but touches on some other aspects of Spinning the Truth, such as global warming & lobbying groups.

Have you listened to any of Patrick Lawlor’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but nice voice. I like when he tried to put appropriate accents to some of the specified referenced people, such as Rupert Murdoch.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Just left me dumbfounded. I realized Spinning (lying) is involved in media, but am just so disillusioned that it is used to the extent that it probably is, as Mr. Potter shared.

It's a shame that it took a young woman dying to shake up Mr. Potter's world to become a whistle blower, but being in a similar circumstance myself, needing to work after being laid off and then, subsequently, getting sick (a stroke) and doing what I have to do to pay the bills, I can understand why. I don't agree with the ethics of it all, but I can understand. Thank God, he saw the light.

Any additional comments?

Thank you, Mr. Potter for making that leap (of faith).

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Vatsal
  • Manhattan, NY, United States
  • 03-02-16

Excellent tell-all

Loved this inside look at the health insurance industry. It's depressing to see that this is now standard operating procedure for corporate America. Mr. Potter should write an instructional on how the people can take back control.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An eye opener

Overall great. Sometime he goes into rants that are not exactly clear but all in all an easy, worthwhile read. I recommend.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Heather
  • Irasburg, VT, United States
  • 08-03-12

Learned a lot about Health Care

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Learning more about the influence insurance companies and government have directly on your health, longevity and basic quality of life.

Any additional comments?

I found it to be informative about the basic state of health care and how we have gotten to where we are. I have to admit I know very little of health care and only recently at the age of 36 have health care for the first time in my life. I learned a lot of basics about the business, regulation and other key info if you want to understand the current state of health care in the US today.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Sad truth about the health insurance industry

Wendell Potter weaves an amazing tale about his journey from Tennessee to the ivory towers of Insurance company giants and back. I wish this was a novel, but it isn't. It's a sad state of the affairs in this business, and I applaud the author for his bravery in exposing their tricks, both in politics and in business. What's really sad is that we all pay the insurance companies well for the terrible things they do to us and to our fellow citizens. Reading this book will provide you with a full understanding that the law that we now have on health care is pretty much what the industry wanted all along - - to make everyone buy their products and to pay their outrageous price for it.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

This book is basically a self-glorifying autobiogr

This book is basically a self-glorifying autobiography. Nothing earth-shattering here, no answers, and no solutions.

6 of 21 people found this review helpful