I introduced him in San Francisco at the Civil Justice Foundation last week as a man who could change the direction of health insurance reform in America. Watch or read the full speech by former CIGNA executive Wendell Potter to see why, and hear about his decision to go public and what the stakes are for health care reform in America.
Having spent a couple of days with Wendell, I can say that he is a linchpin in the new Democratic strategy to show the middle class that health insurance reform will help them. The White House needs to embrace Potter, though, and answer his call to come to Los Angeles next week for the first urban Remote Area Medical clinic, a massive volunteer effort to care for the uninsured and underinsured. No doubt thousands will be turned away from the free medical care offered at the Inglewood Forum, where the Los Angeles Lakers used to play. The White House needs to send a representative to offer those patients a hand and make the case of the president's plan.
The local coverage of Potter's San Francisco speech -- see ABC and CBS --shows what a potent force for change Potter's testimony is and how health insurers have no good answer to him. Will the White House join Wendell? Such strategic decisions at this moment will make all the difference for health insurance reform in America when Congress returns after Labor Day.