The Potter Report

How America’s Dental Health Crisis Created Mexico’s “Molar City”

Immigration and the Mexican border have been in the news for months. But all the stories have been about people coming to the United States. The untold story is how many Americans are leaving the U.S. for Mexico. Not to stay but to get dental care. So many Americans are making the trip across the border to see a dentist that one small border town, Los Algodones, is now better known by its nickname: Molar City. The demand has become so great that a website has been created to help Americans make appointments with...

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The new plan to cut out the heart of Obamacare

Community rating: the defining feature of the earliest health insurance – and the one thing that keeps carriers from gouging customers.
Community rating is the one thing that keeps insurance companies from gouging most of their customers. It’s the thing that helps makes the health insurance marketplace even remotely fair.

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A Major Health Care Victory in Indian Country

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote about how an American Indian tribe in Washington state defied a powerful special interest that was making it difficult for members of the tribe to get the dental care they needed.
It was a big gamble, but it paid off. What tribal leaders did was hire the equivalent of a nurse practitioner in dentistry—a dental therapist—to practice on the Swinomish Reservation, despite opposition from the state dental association and the...

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Bipartisan Agreement On Health Care? On Dental Care, Absolutely

[caption id="attachment_3137" align="alignnone" width="628"]Dentist tools are photographed in the surgery room of dentist Sevan Arzuyan in Hanau near Frankfurt, Germany, March 7, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach Dentist tools are photographed in the surgery room of dentist Sevan Arzuyan in Hanau near Frankfurt, Germany, March 7, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach[/caption] If you think Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on anything related to health care, you’d be wrong. A remarkable bipartisan effort is taking shape at the state level that could result in millions of Americans having better access to...

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‘Obamacare Saved My Life, Too.’

kristenwolfDonald Trump says everyone will be 'beautifully covered' after repeal. Why this Philly demonstrator isn't buying it, and why you shouldn't either.   You’ve been told for years that Obamacare has been bad for the middle class. That’s it’s the reason premiums are increasing and why more people are in high deductible plans. You’ve been told that once it’s repealed everybody will be “beautifully covered."That would be great. But Kristin Wolf isn’t buying it. And neither should you.

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Trump Pledge to Repeal Obamacare Will Trigger Insurance Marketplace Chaos and Political Backlash

Listen to Scott Harris and Wendell Potter's conversation on Between the Lines. Check out the full post here. [embed]http://www.btlonline.org/2017/mp3/170106b-btl-potter.mp3[/embed] Ever since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, known widely as Obamacare, the Republican party has staged continuous rhetorical attacks on the health care law – and held more than 60 votes to repeal the legislation. Now with the election of Donald Trump to the White House, and Republicans maintaining control of both the House and Senate, the party will now be in position to destroy the legislation, that for all its flaws, has brought health insurance...

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Repeal Obamacare? GOP Should Be Careful What They Wish For

Now that they'll control the White House and Congress, Republicans still haven't got a clue what to do about health care.
[caption id="attachment_3126" align="alignnone" width="1280"]Felue Chang (right), who obtained health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, receives a checkup from Dr. Peria Del Pino-White at the South Broward Community Health Services clinic on April 15, 2014 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Felue Chang (right), who obtained health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, receives a checkup from Dr. Peria Del Pino-White at the South Broward Community Health...

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Regardless Of Who We Vote For, Health Insurers Will Win

As we get close to the election, it’s clear that something should be done, at the federal or state level or both, to address the shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act.
The news that premiums on the so-called Obamacare benchmark health plans will be 25 percent higher on average next year came on the heels of earlier reports that people in most states will have considerably fewer health plans to choose from.
The health care consulting firm Avalere, which tracks insurer participation in the Obamacare exchanges,...

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Introduction to Em’s Square

  [caption id="attachment_3013" align="alignright" width="223"]Emily Potter poses for Head Shot assignment outside of checkout on the Ventura Campus of Brooks Institute in Ventura Calif., Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 29 2014. (© Rebekah A Romero 2014) Emily Potter poses for Head Shot assignment outside of checkout on the Ventura Campus of Brooks Institute in Ventura Calif., Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 29 2014. (© Rebekah A Romero 2014)[/caption] In a New York Times op-ed this summer, author and columnist David Brooks wrote about how a...

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History (of health carrier greed) repeats itself

greed-health-insurance-carriers-1 It doesn't take a psychic to predict that health insurance carriers will return to the Obamacare fold in 2017 with dollar signs in their eyes. On a Friday afternoon 16 years and four months ago, after the close of trading at the New York Stock Exchange, my staff and I at Cigna disseminated a press release we knew would lead to a lot of angst in Washington, on Wall Street and around the country.

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Why Health Insurance Industry Consolidation Is Bad For Your Health

doc You undoubtedly have heard that some of the country’s biggest health insurers have decided to leave several Obamacare markets, which means that tens of thousands of us will be affected next year.
You probably haven’t heard — at least not lately — that some of the biggest health insurers are moving full steam ahead to merge with each other, which means that tens of millions of us — yes, millions — will be affected next year. And not in a...

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It’s Way Past Time For Us To Stop Deluding Ourselves About Private Health Insurers

I didn’t think it was possible for me to get more disgusted with the industry I used to be a cheerleader for, but I was wrong.
Health insurers—more specifically, the big for-profit health insurers that want to get even bigger through two pending mega-mergers (Anthem wants to buy Cigna and Aetna wants to buy Humana)—once again are demonstrating that nothing—absolutely nothing—is more important to them than making their rich shareholders even richer.
If that means making it more difficult for low- and middle-income Americans to get...

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Who Cares About Wasserman Schultz When Americans Are Still Getting Medical Care In Animal Stalls?

MARK MAKELA / REUTERS
While the media — and Democratic party leaders — obsess about whether Debbie Wasserman Schultz should be allowed to “gavel in” the Democratic National Convention here today, hundreds of doctors and dentists are returning to their day jobs after spending three days a few miles from where I grew up treating patients — human patients — in animal stalls.
Frankly, I suspect the Democrats would rather deal with the...

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Seriously: Is the Public Option really an option?

The Public Option doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of being enacted, even at the state level, as long as the insurance industry and its allies are able to continue spending whatever it takes to influence both elections and public policy. Hillary Clinton, and now President Obama, have 'Public Option Fever.' But is it contagious enough to overcome the power of Big Money? Well, well, well. It seems as if the Democrats have once again come down with Public Option Fever. Forgive me for being cynical, but folks, until we address the democracy-stifling and status-quo protecting influence of...

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Organized Dentistry Loses Big In Another State As Propaganda Stops Working

  In health care public policy fights, it’s very hard for an underdog to overcome a massively funded lobbying and propaganda campaign.

Today, though, the underdog is celebrating a huge win. One so big, in fact, that it most certainly will embolden groups in other states to take on the same adversary—organized dentistry.
The victory was made official this morning when Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a bill that will greatly expand access to dental care in the Green Mountain State by expanding the dental workforce. It will do so by enabling...

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America’s Silent Epidemic Will End When Public Officials Stop Kowtowing to a Single Special Interest

A new report by Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and the Department of Health and Human Services makes clear that the United States is still in the grip of a decades-long epidemic, albeit one that many Americans scarcely know exists. What this and previous reports do not make clear, however, is that the epidemic continues to cause lasting harm to millions of men, women and children in part because of the influence of a very powerful special interest.
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The Lobbyist Who Made You Pay More at the Drugstore

Here's how the pharmaceutical industry keeps America's drug prices among the highest in the world.

The following is excerpted from Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman’s new book, Nation On the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It. You can also listen to an interview with the authors. Bill and Faith Wildrick have never heard of Billy Tauzin, but they’re paying dearly for Tauzin’s tireless work for the pharmaceuticbal industry. So are Faith’s employer and all of her co-workers. We all are. And in the future, so...

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Potter and Penniman: “The System Is Rigged Against Regular People”

In their new book, Nation on the Take, Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman portray a government and politics polluted by big corporate dollars. But the authors also offer solutions.

Few are as qualified to tackle the massive topic of money in politics as Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman. Their new book, Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy (read an excerpt), is a comprehensive and important examination of the many ways our lives are affected by the stranglehold corporations have...

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Is America a ‘Nation on the Take’?

America stands at a historic crossroads. One path leads to a renewal of our Democratic ideal, the other to government by the few, the rich and the powerful. So argue Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman in their new book, “Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts our Democracy and What We Can do About It” (Bloomsbury). Potter will be familiar to Center for Public Integrity readers as a former health insurance executive turned critic, Center columnist and author. His previous book “Deadly Spin” won the 2011 Ridenhour Book Prize. Penniman is...

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On Super Tuesday, a Battle Plan to Save Democracy

Nick Penniman Executive Director, Issue One and Wendell Potter Author of Nation on the Take, to be published March 1, 2016 Tens of millions of political dollars have been injected into the 13 states holding their primaries this Super Tuesday as the presidential candidates angle for the 1,639 delegates that are up for grabs. Because of such massive outlays, political spending in 2016 will likely reach $10 billion, blowing the roof off all previous records. Yet, amidst the blinding blizzard of campaign cash, many people might wonder whether money really has...

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Symmetry meets us anywhere

project002-merry-005-wm Photo taken by 100cameras student, Merry, in New York City. 100cameras empowers kids to be change makers. Through teaching kids how to share their perspectives through photography, we turn their stories into sellable products that directly fund tangible change in their communities. Learn how you can help make empowerment possible at 100cameras.org. // @100cameras  | #my100cameras

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Adam Bruckner’s “Bully Back” – an elementary school adaptation of our election reality

In recent weeks, parents all across the country have been afraid to let their kids watch news coverage of the presidential candidates. My Nation on the Take co-author, Nick Penniman, posted this on Facebook shortly before the second Clinton-Trump debate: I couldn’t agree more. But all is not lost, thanks to a good friend of mine, Adam Bruckner. Adam—with a little help from a few of his little friends—has come up with the perfect way for parents and teachers to explain to kids what’s going on in this election year. Not...

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