In his new book, former insurance industry insider Wendell Potter says insurance companies spend a huge portion of Americans' health insurance premiums on relentless propaganda and lobbying efforts that are focused on one thing: profits. He describes how the insurance industry's PR onslaught drastically weakened the new health reform law, and how it plays an insidious but often invisible role in politics any time corporate profits are threatened, on subjects ranging from climate change to defense policy. Wendell says he has been getting particular grief from former colleagues over a chapter in the book about a meticulously-planned, deception-based campaign to discredit filmmaker Michael Moore and his 2007 movie, Sicko. After discovering the movie blamed most of the problems with America's health care system on insurance companies, the industry ran a secret, behind-the-scenes campaign to demonize Moore and assure that Americans would stay misinformed about Canadian and European health care systems, which provide high quality health care for all their citizens at much lower costs than in the U.S. Few Americans are aware, Wendell says, of the central role the health insurance industry played in creating the fear-mongering and anger-mongering campaign against the Democrats' original version of the health reform bill, which included a public option that would have competed against private insurers and that President Obama originally said was necessary to "keep insurers honest."
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