Today on Label Monday we pay homage to the labeling champion, that superstar of underhanded rhetoric, the insurance industry. Wendell Potter, top flack for the insurance giant CIGNA, helped lead the fight against health-care reform, successfully getting the public to believe that America (which ranks below Bosnia in life expectancy) has the greatest health care in the world.
Potter had an awakening in East Tennessee when he observed a health fair with long lines of people waiting to be treated in the fairgrounds’ horse stalls. He later saw a television interview with the district’s congressman, Zack Wamp, who claimed that the 45 million uninsured chose their lot. Wamp was using a script Potter himself had helped write.
The reformed flack has since written a book claiming that labels like “socialism” and “death panels” arose from the well-paid efforts of PR people like him. Potter even asserts that the Tea Party movement came out of the same “playbook.”
If a fraction of what he says is true, then Figaro tips his rhetorical hat to the insurance industry and its clever PR minions. Well done, sirs and madams!