Are We Surprised?

Health care industry's PR machine isn't laying down in the reform debate either...

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Everybody tryna make a dollar...From CNN:

Wendell Potter knows a little something about the health care industry's practices and is not afraid of to speak out as the health care reform debate heats up around the country.

The former vice president of corporate communications at insurance giant Cigna, who left his post, says the industry is playing "dirty tricks" in an effort to manipulate public opinion.

"Words matter, and the insurance industry is a master at linguistics and using the hot words, buzzwords, buzz expressions that they know will get people upset," he told CNN Wednesday.

Now a senior fellow on health care for the watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy, Potter writes a blog on health care reform. He is focusing on efforts to defeat legislation supporting a government health care plan -- something he supports.

In early July, Potter testified before the Senate Commerce Committee, telling senators that "I know from personal experience that members of Congress and the public have good reason to question the honesty and trustworthiness of the insurance industry."

Potter described how underwriters at his former company would drive small businesses with expensive insurance claims to dump their Cigna policies. Industry executives refer to the practice as "purging," Potter said.

"When that business comes up for renewal, the underwriters jack the rates up so much, the employer has no choice but to drop insurance," Potter had said.

In an e-mail to CNN, Cigna spokesman Chris Curran denied the company engages in purging.

"We do not practice that. We will offer rates that are reflective of the competitive group health insurance market. We always encourage our clients to compare our proposed rates to those available from other carriers," Curran wrote.

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