Wendell Potter, APR, walks through the streets of Washington, D.C., while talking on his iPhone. He’s just met Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee hearing and has some down time between appointments. A man constantly on the go since June 24, when he first testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Potter has become a whistleblower for health care industry reform.
After 20-plus years as a health care executive, the soft-spoken Potter is now leading a whirlwind life as a controversial and in-demand figure on the political talk show circuit. The former vice president of corporate communications for CIGNA Corp. gave up his lucrative salary and the posh perks that came along with his senior-level position, knowing that he would likely never hold another job in corporate America. While he still values public relations and is a proponent of ethical practice, Potter takes issue with what he sees as “spin and flackery” in his own profession. Today, he’s advocating for honesty and transparency in health insurance companies — explaining his thoughts on how he believes the companies confuse customers and “dump the sick” to satisfy their investors.
Potter is currently the senior fellow on health care for the Center for Media and Democracy — an unpaid position — and also maintains a blog for the outlet. After speaking with The Strategist on a Tuesday in September, he’s off to the studio for appearances on MSNBC’s “The ED Show” and CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” where he’ll continue to spread his message.