Joe Bliven

Deadly Spin
By Wendell Potter

November 29th, 2018

This book is a great explanation of how the insurance industry and other industries influence public opinion and lawmakers to favor their exploitative business practices. Written by an ex public relations executive from CIGNA (a large insurance provider) who became dissatisfied with his role in helping his industry suck every last penny out of the market at the price of everyday Americans. The book does more than offer this whistle-blower's accounts of his involvement by giving a real crash course in the role of public relations and media in the current era. He starts by explaining what his job was as a PR worker, how he got into his role, and the events that led him to question his role and eventually give up his career. Wendell Potter gives us a brief, yet deep, summary of the current health insurance climate in the U.S. and how we got here. He also gives an excellent summary of the history of PR and common tactics. Potter gives specific examples of cases where insurance companies consciously do the wrong thing time and time again and then launch massive PR campaigns to quell public backlash and government intervention. He gives thorough accounts of how the insurance industry uses PR to fight against certain insurance "horror stories" including a widely reported case of a 17 year old girl who was denied coverage for a life saving treatment that resulted in her death. Potter also gives summaries of how the industry has combated unfavorable regulations including the Clintons' efforts to reform health care in the 90s. He also details how politicians, the news media and the public were so easily duped by insurance companies during the drafting and passing of the ACA. He also ends the book by explaining how other industries have exploited PR tactics and the current state of the media. This book is an excellent comprehensive introduction to the healthcare reform climate in the U.S. right now and should be read by any American who wants a better understanding of the healthcare debate. The author holds your hand from beginning to end and will leave anyone who hasn't lived his life with a great deal more knowledge on an important issue facing our country.