Insights on the health care debate from a former industry insider

Wendell Potter

Just days before a pivotal Affordable Care Act case is argued before the Supreme Court, Wendell Potter, a former health care industry insider turned critic, will speak to the East Tennessee SPJ and UT student chapters.

His session will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22, via Zoom:

Potter, who grew up in East Tennessee and started his media career as a high school correspondent for The Kingsport Times-News, has more than four decades of experience as a communications professional. He is a University of Tennessee graduate and a former editor of The Daily Beacon.

His journalism career took him to Memphis, Nashville and Washington, D.C. He covered Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court for Scripps-Howard Newspapers. Later, he was involved with lobbying and communications strategy for the insurance industry for more than 15 years.

After seeing how PR and lobbying tilts the scales toward corporate interests, he left his corporate role to advocate for health care reform, making headlines in 2009 during congressional testimony about how insurance companies contribute to spiraling healthcare costs and the number of Americans without health insurance.

He authored “Deadly Spin, An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans.” He wrote an eBook titled “Obamacare: What’s in for Me? What Everyone Needs to Know about the Affordable Care Act.

His latest book, which he wrote with Nick Penniman, is “Nation on the Take, How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It.”

He leads the Center for Health and Democracy ( and Business Leaders for Health Care Transformation ( and lives in Philadelphia.