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Photo: Robin Holland

Wendell Potter

Activist

After a 20-year career as a corporate public relations executive, in 2009 Wendell Potter left his job as head of communications for Cigna, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, to speak out against what he sees as an industry corrupted by Wall Street expectations and greed.

In widely covered testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science and Technology Committee, Potter blew the whistle on insurance companies that, he said, boost their profits by engaging in practices that result in millions of Americans being forced into the ranks of the uninsured. He also described deceptive PR campaigns and lobbying efforts designed to defeat reform initiatives.

He now serves as the Center for Media and Democracy’s senior fellow on health care, and as a senior analyst at The Center for Public Integrity.

Potter is a native of Tennessee and a graduate of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where he received a B.A. degree in communications and did postgraduate work in journalism and public relations. He is the author of Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans, which came out in 2010.