Pam Zubeck at Colorado Springs Independent: Inside Information

Indy: In testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science and Technology Committee in June 2009, you disclosed how insurance companies, as part of their efforts to boost profits, have engaged in practices that have resulted in millions of Americans being forced into the ranks of the uninsured. Can you give us a few examples?

Wendell Potter: One is by refusing to sell coverage to people who have been sick in the past, including people who were born with birth defects or who developed chronic illnesses during their childhood or regular life. I saw one estimate of one Blue Cross plan in Tennessee that declined or refused to sell coverage to at least 30 percent of applicants, and undoubtedly that was because these people had health conditions that made them, in the eyes of insurance companies, uninsurable.

They also have been jacking up the rates to the point that many people even who are healthy can’t afford to get coverage. They’ve also been jacking up rates on small businesses over many years to the point many small businesses can no longer provide coverage to their employees. If one employee gets sick, an insurance company jacks up the price so high that a small business has no choice but to drop coverage for everybody.

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