COLUMBIA - A former health insurance executive turned watchdog spoke Thursday night about problems with the health care system.
Wendell Potter left his job as an executive at Cigna to become a health insurance industry watchdog and consumer advocate. He said he left the job because he had, "a crisis of conscious." He also said, "the higher up the corporate ladder I climbed the more I could see how [corporate practices] were not in the best interests of average folks."
Now Potter claims to be a whistleblower with insider perspective. Potter spoke Thursday night at the United Methodist Church about both the benefits and problems of the Affordable Health Care Act. While Potter talked about some of faults of the system, he also pointed out the benefits. "People need to be vigilant," he said. "We need to pay attention because we really do have a lot of consumer benefits that are going to take effect and people need to know about them and people need to take advantage of them." Potter also talked about new health care coverage opportunities, Medicaid expansion in Missouri and Problems with insurance companies and employers.
Around 100 people showed up to listen to Potter. Mary Hussmann said, "I'd seen him on T.V. at different times and wanted to hear him speak." Hussmann, a former nurse, says she knows the problems with the health care system, and said she's been working for health care reform for years.
Hussmann says she came to listen to Potter to learn about the health care act. "The education is a big part of it," she said. "This is a big thick bill with a lot of moving parts in it...so I'm just looking forward to getting more educated about the Affordable Care Act."