Potter Tells Single-Payer Group to Do "PR"

Potter speaks to packed room in NYCWendell Potter, author of "Deadly Spin," told a capacity crowd of 200 in New York last night that backers of a single-payer health plan must adopt the techniques and strategies of the opponents of such a plan.

Potter, speaking to Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP) at the Murphy Institute for Education and Labor Studies, said the PNHP must seek allies, get "others" to tell their story, use appeals to basic emotions, and create memorable slogans.

"Special interests have kicked your butt with the skillful use of language," he said. They have been able to "demonize" single-payer, he added.

Politicians, he said, are not going to support such a health plan unless their constituents are in favor of it, he said. He faulted the single-payers for lacking a "long term strategic plan," something that he said the healthcare insurance industry excels at.

Opponents of single-pay engage in "fear-mongering" by calling it "socialized medicine" and asking why should the U.S. tinker with its health services when it has the best healthcare in the world?

False information is given about healthcare in Canada, he said.

Defeat of Soda Tax Cited

As an example of the power of lobbyists, Potter cited the recent defeat of attempts to put a tax on sugared drinks.

Such a tax had been proposed in New York by Governor David Paterson when he was in office.

Pepsi, Coke and other groups such as the American Beverage Association lobbied heavily against such a tax and won, said Potter.

An early supporter of such a tax, State Senator Jeffrey Klein, "flipped" and "essentially stopped the proposal in its tracks, Albany insiders said," according to a story in the March 26, 2010 Daily News.

14,000 Physicians in PNHP

The PNHP includes 14,000 physicians and 4,000 medical students and health professionals. It is on a nationwide campaign to create a single-payer, Medicare-for-all program "as the only way to assure high quality, comprehensive care to all Americans and the only way to rein in skyrocketing healthcare costs."

Dr. Garrett Adams, president, said the group rejects the move by Republican leaders to repeal the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." He said the PNHP "recognizes the new law is incapable of resolving our healthcare morass."

The law is "flawed because it continues our nation’s reliance on an inefficient and wasteful private-insurance-based model of financing care -- a rickety structure that denies healthcare access to millions, bankrupts patients, ratchets up costs and frustrates efforts to improve quality," he said.

Adams estimates that Americans would save $400 billion annually by "cutting out the unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy inflicted on us by the private insurers."

Americans would also "gain the one-system bargaining power we need to negotiate lower prices for pharmaceutical drugs and medical supplies," he added.

Potter said he was disappointed in the new healthcare law because it was not a single-payer plan and lacked the option of a government health plan for those who desired it ("public option"). But he said the flawed plan was better than no plan at all.


I was a health planner and a health policy analyst. We have always known the only way to contain cost is single payer. So has the President known this and so does congress know this but they refuse to do the right thing because all they care about is getting reelected. Our corrupt congress is not about to bite the finger that feeds them no matter how bad health care gets or how many people die. On 9/11 less than 3000 people died and their families received compensation - some got huge amounts. But since 9/11 almost 500,000 Americans have died from lack of medical care. I mean premature deaths here - preventable deaths and untold suffering but no compensation for their families by our corrupt congress or the White House. Unfortunately PR will not work because in fact the people who might support it don't have a voice. The doctor who was supporting Single Payer was not even allowed into the congressional hearings on health care reform. Obama and the congress just slammed the door in their faces (and this after the president lied that he would support single payer. Isn't anyone in governmentn ever held responsible for what they push out their mouths knowing they are lying. Candidates for office should have to be sworn in during their campaigns to tell the truth, the whole truth and only the truth. That would certainly cut down on the ridiculous amount os money wasted on 4 and more years of campaigning. And one upside might be that we wouldn't have to crawl under mounds of lies to get to the real news like what new laws are being passed and where the US is warring and killing millions of innocent people. They always manage to kill those news stories by making endless campaign promises (lies) the stupid CAble news. And FOX doesn't broadcast any news at all - just crazy people screaming and interrupting guests. It is a circus without the talent and fun. So the health insurance industry wrote the bill for Obama's pretend reform and although it is a very bad bill except that people with "pre-existing conditions can now get insurance if they can afford it or they will have to pay $5,000 to $10,000 deductibles and huge co pays. All this is the same as having no insurance at all. But no worry the bill will not be voted out (perhaps changed like no preexisting conditions being reinstated a insurance company jargon for kill the sick). The Republicans will not vote it out because their masters, the health insurance industry like those 30 million new customers. When did we turn out government and country over to the corporations? Answer: over many years of voluntary public ignorance. Still people claim they are not political as they are robbed blind. In addition to a dumbed down educational system. Welcome to the UNITED CORPORATIONS OF AMERICA and their congressional and executive lackies.