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A health care 'Judas' recounts his conversion
A clinic such as this, where countless uninsured line up at dawn for free medical care, convinced one man to quit his Cigna job.
June 27th, 2012
01:46 PM ET

A health care 'Judas' recounts his conversion

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - When Wendell Potter first saw them, he froze.

“It felt like touching an electrical fence,” he says. “I remember tearing up and thinking, how could this be real.”

Thousands of them had lined up under a cloudy sky in an open field. Many had camped out the night before. When their turns came, doctors treated them in animal stalls and on gurneys placed on rain-soaked sidewalks.

They were Americans who needed basic medical care. Potter had driven to the Wise County Fairgrounds in Virginia in July 2007 after reading that a group called Remote Area Medical, which flew American doctors to remote Third World villages, was hosting a free outdoor clinic.

Potter, a Cigna health care executive who ate from gold-rimmed silverware in corporate jets, says that morning was his “Road to Damascus” experience.

“It looked like a refugee camp,” Potter says. “It just hit me like a bolt of lightning. What I was doing for a living was making it necessary for people to resort to getting care in animal stalls.”

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Thursday on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is a colossal legal and political issue. For Potter, though, the issue became a crisis of faith.

For the last three years, Potter has been one of the most visible supporters of President Barack Obama’s health care legislation. He has testified before Congress, appeared on countless talk shows and written a tell-all book on the health care industry called "Deadly Spin." With his Southern drawl and mild professorial manner, he has been described as a health care industry “Judas” in some media accounts.

Yet none of the media coverage of Potter has explored what drove his conversion - his faith. Potter was raised as a Southern Baptist in Kingsport, Tennessee, where he says his parents instilled in him an appreciation for helping others.

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He says the New Testament is filled with Jesus providing universal health care - he healed the poor and outcast.

“Christians needed to be reminded of what Jesus did,” Potter says.  “It was important to him for people to have access to healing care. That’s what he did. A lot of people of faith lose sight of that.”

A health care hit man

Potter says he lost sight of that because the health care issue was an abstraction to him when he worked at Cigna as a public relations executive. Part of his job was to snuff out stories in the media that made the health care industry look bad.

But his visit to that free clinic in Virginia that July morning shook him. In a column that he wrote for the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative news organization, where he works as a senior analyst, he wrote:

“Until that day, I had been able to think, talk and write about the U.S. health care system and the uninsured in the abstract, as if real-life human beings were not involved.”

Yet even after that visit to the clinic, Potter says, he still stayed with his Cigna job. He had a son and a daughter, a six-figure salary, bonuses.  He felt trapped even as he resumed his job.

“It was always gnawing at me,” he says of the experience at the clinic.

There was another reason he couldn’t leave his job.  It was his identity.

Wendell Potter was moved by his faith to quit his Cigna job.

“Our egos are tied to our jobs even if the jobs we’re doing are not what we thought we were going to be doing,” he says. “Our jobs, to a certain extent, help define who we are.”

Potter found a new source of identity - his faith. He read the Bible and found particular solace in the New Testament book of Philippians, where the Apostle Paul advises Christians to “cast all their anxiety” on God. He also read “Profiles in Courage” to fortify his resolve.

He finally quit, and eventually became one of the most visible advocates for health care reform.

“I felt that if I were on my death bed and looked back on my life and realized that I had not taken this risk to do the right thing, I would have huge regrets,” he says.

Why churches are silent

Potter now spends some of his time talking to churches. He says an estimated 45,000 Americans die each year because they don’t have insurance that provides them access to the care they need.

“This doesn’t happen in any other developed country in the world, and it should not happen here, the richest nation on the planet,” he says.

When he takes this message to churches, some shut their doors, he says. They don’t want to hear him. Pastors know the debate over health care divides their congregations.

“A lot of pastors are just too afraid to get involved in this and step up and say this is a moral issue,” he says. “They’re afraid of offending their parishioners.”

Some of Potter’s most consistent supporters, though, are former colleagues in the health care industry.  "I've had calls and emails from people I used to work with in the industry who thank me quietly," he says.

No matter what the Supreme Court decides, Potter says health care changes are inevitable. The current system of for-profit health insurance companies is not sustainable. He says some Americans dismiss the uninsured, but they don’t realize how close they are to joining them.

He says many of the people who attended the Remote Area Medical clinic were working people. Their jobs simply didn’t provide enough good medical care. While many companies provide health insurance to people with pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, most people with these maladies wouldn’t get coverage if they suddenly lost their job.

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“Most of us are just a layoff from losing it,” he says of health insurance.

Potter can’t guess what the Supreme Court will decide, but he has predicted what the United States will look like if the health care law is struck down.

We’ve already seen that future in a book and movie called “The Hunger Games," he wrote in a recent column.

"The Hunger Games" depicts a future America renamed Panem, where the government is disconnected from the people who struggle every day for basic needs such as medical care while the wealthy have access to modern medicine, he wrote.

“This society-gone-bad scenario of denying basic care to citizens based on their income or social status seems on the big screen not only cruel and unusual but even incomprehensible,” he wrote. “In fact, it’s occurring every day in what is still called the United States.”

Potter didn’t have to see that future on the screen. He’d already seen it in Virginia, where doctors cared for Americans in animal stalls.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Faith & Health • Health • Health care

soundoff (1,958 Responses)
  1. Jack

    Hello, everyone is invited to visit ... thestarofkaduri.com

    June 28, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  2. Iowa_Sailor

    Universal healthcare is the only answer to these issues in the US. The health care insurance industry needs to be dissolved, fair pay for health care professionals established and a flat tax established to pay for it.

    June 28, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      Agreed!

      June 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I think dissolving industry is exactly the plan. What about you r industry? When shall we dissolve it?

      June 28, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  3. rmtappin

    If the supporters call this man a Judas who betrayed them then they are saying that the Insurance industry is a type of Christ. Really???

    June 28, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  4. docwho still cares

    To all the good doers out there
    Does money drive healthcare? You bet! I have had to pay for 24 years of education to be a specialist. Now after paying over half a million dollars out of my pocket to become a surgeon, the do good doers out here tell me I am supposed to work for free? Well if that is what you want then you will get physicians who don't know what they are doing, who do bad surgeries, give harmful drugs to people who don't need them, and basically don't excel at anything but they have a good heart. Well surprise those of us who have spent hundreds and thousands of dollars to be physicians have more of a heart than anyone. We suffer in our personal lives and in ouor family lives to care for other people. We are supposed to be correct 100% of the time, if we are not then we are taken to court and someone with two years a graduate training (lawyers) make more money with one case than do most of us for a whole year. By the way my gradute training; 12 years. This article talks about the "goodness of heart" one executive found. Well I see it everyday, but I am not traveling on a corporate jet with gold plated silverware. Get the goverment out of my life, I will offer more free care during my career than any goverment policy will ever do!

    June 28, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • zaint007

      In March of this year, President Barak Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, officially known as H.R. 3590, or Healthcare Reform. Part of this law will require that by 2014, most Americans must purchase government regulated health insurance. In fact, Section 1501 of the act adds a new chapter to the IRS code that mandates all “applicable” individuals to either obtain health insurance that meets the bill’s “minimum essential coverage” standards. If they do not, they will be required to pay a penalty.

      Religious Conscious Exemptions

      There are, however, some healthcare bill exemptions. First, the new law creates a religious conscience exemption for those who are members and faithful adherents of a recognized religious sect or division. The provision may exempt those individuals from the mandatory health insurance purchase requirement if they are members of religions that have established tenets or teachings that bar the “acceptance of the benefits of any private or public insurance.”

      The religious conscience exemption is defined as:http://www.newsonhealthcare.com/healthcare-bill-exemption/

      June 28, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  5. Soulman

    We should outsource our healthcare to places like India. I have had affordable care abroad for a fraction of the cost that we would pay in the United States. May sound unpatriotic but that is the honest truth. Profits will always be a priority in our current healthcare system. When dollar signs trump a healthy nation then there are few solutions to this disastrous system other than a complete overhaul.

    June 28, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Moan, moan, moan. Decent people don't advocate stealing my salary to pay for a bunch of layabouts, always seeking the next handout.

      NCOME TAX IS THEFT!!

      And Gibson, the next time I want advice on indoctrinating children, I'll give you a call. I tend to stay away from demented people and charlatans in economic matters.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Sorry Soulman, wrong thread.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Karen

      How would repeatedly flying millions of Americans to India would be cost effective?

      June 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  6. Rational Libertarian

    Pack o' scroungers. Get up off your fat behinds and get jobs instead of feeding off decent peoples' taxes.

    June 28, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Deb

      You just said it all, decent people. You just said what people like you think. Decent people? So you think you are more decent than the disabled or misfortunate? What world do you live in?

      June 28, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I think the state should provide health insurance for disabled people. As for the "misfortunate", just another word for scroungers.

      I live in the real world, where liberals think it's OK to steal my income and limit my freedom. Ditto for the nu-conservatives.

      June 28, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • Johnson

      You live in the real world, where corporations and executives couldn't make excessive profits without low wage workers to take advantage of. The sad part is that the economy as we know it would collapse if there were a 'decent' job for everyone.

      June 28, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      How is giving someone a job taking advantage of them? If they didn't want to work menial jobs, maybe they should have paid attention in school. Also, most big corporations have health insurance even for low level employees. I'm not saying corporations exist for altruistic reasons, but portraying them as evil is just typical liberal propaganda.

      June 28, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Justin

      Joe Republican (and Newt fan) –

      Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and fresh because some tree-hugging liberal fought for water-quality standards.

      With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

      All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance – now Joe gets it too.

      He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girlie-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

      In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

      Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

      He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

      Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays the same standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

      If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

      It is noon and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FDIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

      Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

      Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards.

      He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by the Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity until some big- government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

      He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father has Medicare, lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine- drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

      Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

      June 28, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Joe has worked himself into an imaginary frenzy. He has realized at last, that imaginary guitar notes and imaginary vocals exist only in the imagination of the imaginer.

      June 28, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Brenda

      Most of your "scroungers" are people working two or three part-time jobs to make ends meet. They don't make enough to pay premiums for their family and they do not have employer-based insurance benefits.

      "Decent" people are compassionate. Decent people don't stereotype. Decent people care about the well-being of children and the elderly. Your comment is indecent.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • S. Gibson

      Sadly, there are some people who do not want to work and who sponge off those who do work.

      HOWEVER, as a pastor and community volunteer over the years, I have gotten to know many people who would really like to work for a living but cannot for a number of reasons – poor health, lack of health care to get better, no jobs available, poor education, caregivers for other family members, etc. They are truly "stuck" and our governmental system at all levels has failed to assist them to transcend their difficult and humiliating life situations.

      I urge you, Rational Libertarian, to get to know some of these people face-to-face. Learn their stories – this means listening without judging. Learn the real reason they are not "successful" citizens in this country that prides itself as standing for "liberty and justice for all." We who enjoy a comfortable life cannot understand all that our less-fortunate neighbors endure. As a more privileged person, I wrestle every day with how to responsibly respond to the needs of my neighbors and recognize their dignity in the midst of their need. Please, see the faces of poverty and learn to care for them.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Moan, moan, moan. Decent people don't advocate stealing my salary to pay for a bunch of layabouts, always seeking the next handout.

      INCOME TAX IS THEFT!!

      And Gibson, the nesxt time I want advice on indoctrinating children, I'l give you a call. I tend to stay away from demented people and charlatans in economic matters.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Karen

      I have a 28 year old son living at home. He has trained both in the medical and computer fields. He's been searching for work for years. Full-time, part-time, contract basis, retail, fast food, whatever. Since he doesn't have any recent employment history, he's not even getting interviews. Fortunately I can afford to support him but what about all the others out there who don't have parents that can or will support them? Are they supposed to go hungry or even die because no one will employ them through no fault of their own? Yes we all know that there are some who take advantage of the system but everyone who's unemployed should not be penalized for it.

      June 28, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  7. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    Some incentives to live a healthy life style and also ways to pay for universal health care.

    1. An added two dollar health insurance tax (or higher) on a pack of cigarettes. Ditto taxes on alcoholic beverages, the higher the alcohol content, the higher the tax. Ditto for any product shown to be unhealthy (e.g. guns, high caloric/fatty foods??)

    2. Physicals akin to those required for life insurance- the overly ob-ese will pay signficantly more Medicare and universal health insurance (unless the obe-sity is caused by a medical condition).

    3. No universal health care coverage for drivers driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or using cell phones while driving.

    4. No universal health coverage for drug addicts or for those having self-inflicted STDs.(e.g. failure to wear a condom).

    5. No universal health coverage for abortions unless the life of the mother is at significant risk and judged to be so by at least two doctors.

    6. No universal health coverage for euthanasia.

    7. No foreign aid given to countries who abort females simply because they are female.

    And then let us have a flat tax, no exceptions for individuals or corporations basically eliminating the need for most if not all of the IRS, corporation tax departments and corporation loop holes.

    And obviously the US government is now a charity case far worse than any group on the globe. The Buffets and Gates of the world should chip in via donating some of their 100's of billions to said charity.

    And if the RCC would shut its doors as it should considering its flawed history and theology, said contributions keeping this dinosaur afloat could be used to keep our government in good order. Ditto for all other churches and temples in the USA..

    June 28, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Basically, no universal health care coverage. Good, I don't want my taxes to pay for the health care of parasites.

      June 28, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • sally

      You aren't very bright. You already are paying for them when they go to the emergency room. That's why health care costs are so high.

      June 28, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I'm not bright, not being a light bulb, the sun or jaundiced. Also, emergency rooms shoud only be for the privately insured. It's bad enough that I have to pay income tax (war tax), the least it could be doing is going towards something useful, like space exploration.

      June 28, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Tarzan

      Emergency rooms should only be for the privately insured.

      I hope you don't eat those words someday. I don't know if you are religious, but it does amaze me how some religious people can be so unconcerned of others. The layed off employee that lost his/her healthcare insurance might be sitting on the pew next to you, but you don't care.

      June 28, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Rational Libertarian is not religious if you read any of his other posts. So are you now willing to say you are amazed at how insensitive non-religious people can be to the plight of those less fortunate? Moron.

      June 28, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Thanks Bill

      It sometimes annoys me being an atheist when I'm automatically associated with the liberal left. Look at the att.itude of Tarzan, "he doesn't hold my socialist views so he must also, by default, be some sort of religious fundie".

      June 28, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Karen

      I'm surprised you don't already know about how much Buffet and Gates have donated.

      June 28, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You're welcome RL. By the way, you probably consider me a religious fundie (practicing Catholic, politically libertarian) but I recognize a BS argument like Tarzan's when I see one.

      June 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Reality

      We are quite aware of the billions donated by Gates and Buffet. The problem is they have not donated any of it to reduce the budget of the USA, a budget that currently cannot afford universal health care.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Momof3

      "the least it could be doing is going towards something useful, like space exploration."

      Now, I know for certain you're a troll! What are you suggesting, the 'decent' people get a new planet, and the rest of the population is stuck with the one your kind has already ruined?

      June 28, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Momof3

      And, why should Bill Gates and Warren Buffet pay for the rest of US society's excesses? You're complaining about paying for everyone, why should they pay for you?

      June 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Reality

      First, I pay my own way and don't need the assistance of Buffet and Gates. Many in the USA do.

      Some other ideas on how to reduce the budget, to pay for universal health care and to save 3.5 billion lost "souls":

      Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
      There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror LIKE 9/11.

      Which would save:

      – One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

      – Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

      – Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.

      Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
      There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

      – The Mormon empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.

      – Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
      Abraham and Moses never existed.

      – Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.

      – All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.

      Now all we need to do is convince these 3.5+ billion global and local citizens that they have been conned all these centuries Time for a YouTube,Twitter and FaceBook campaign!!!!

      BOTTOM LINE: SAID SAVINGS WOULD PAY FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE !!!!

      June 28, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  8. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    How much money would the following save the US taxpayers ?: And how many “souls” would be saved?

    Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
    There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror LIKE 9/11.

    – One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

    – Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.

    Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
    There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

    – The Mormon empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.

    – Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
    Abraham and Moses never existed.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.

    – All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.

    Now all we need to do is convince these 3.5+ billion global and local citizens that they have been conned all these centuries Time for a YouTube,Twitter and FaceBook campaign!!!!

    BOTTOM LINE: SAID SAVINGS WOULD PAY FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE !!!!
    (and put a dent in the budget deficit)
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    June 28, 2012 at 7:30 am |
  9. Linda

    Leif's comments are extremely intelligent and funny!

    June 28, 2012 at 4:47 am |
  10. Kidoairaku

    Finally, a story that sheds light on what I've been saying all along is now available for everyone to read. Of course, it being published on CNN is like preaching to the choir, but at least all the hypocrites (i.e. Christian Conservatives) are properly pointed out now. To all you Christians out there reading this who don't feel the same as Potter, go read your Bible again. Hopefully you'll be able to free yourself from your idiocy that is collectively brainwashing millions of Americans.

    June 28, 2012 at 3:50 am |
    • ronan

      I think you need to look at history. Catholics and other Christians have built and funded many hospitals in this country. We have been providing health care for 100’s of years to ALL

      June 28, 2012 at 9:16 am |
  11. Heygeo

    Repubs carved out their hearts years ago so they could continue to look into their mirrors without any pangs of guilt. This is why I cannot get behind them, I simply couldnt go to bed at night knowing that If i did it would mean ignoring the people most in need and pain. Repubs would rather shout its all about accountability yet all their policies apply pressure on the unfortunate to just dissappear. I'm not an overly religious man but what little faith i do observe tells me that lady in the picture and others like her are why compassion is an important trait to believe in.

    June 28, 2012 at 3:49 am |
  12. GETAJOB

    All a see in that photo are people who made poor choices in there life. I have no problem helping the poor and less fortunate through a non profit or my own terms. The government forcing me to do so..NOT

    June 28, 2012 at 3:41 am |
    • Heygeo

      so based on your assesment then every single person in a hospital around the world all made poor choices. No way could that lady in the picture be suffering from say a stroke that occurred? or perhaps she has been afflicted with diabetes? Tuberculosis?
      You really should just keep your loose change that you donate, and not bother justifying to anyone that you care. I'm unimpressed with this argument that if left to your own devices you would lift a finger for anyone based on your comments.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:57 am |
    • Leif

      So, you make decisions based upon pictures presented to you on-line by a news conglomerate?

      June 28, 2012 at 4:02 am |
    • Leif

      I have no problem saying that you are a superficial a__monger.

      June 28, 2012 at 4:03 am |
    • Rick

      The government forcing me to pay to protect you and your family, to pay for fire protection, police protection, is socialism....pure and simple. It's not my fault that your grandmother is too old or frail to protect herself from a rapist or murderer, not my fault she is too dumb to own a gun and know how to use it, not my fault you kids are to young or small to defend themselves....too bad. Not my fault that you are too stupid to inspect your home wiring....too bad if your house catches fire.....let it burn....why should I be forced to pay for YOU!

      June 28, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • ProudProgressive

      Wow...GETAJOB, in just a few words, you've managed to convey a staggering amount of hatred & ignorance (and a couple of typos!) Let me break this down:

      “All a see in that photo are people who made poor choices in there life.” All I see in your comment is a person who mercilessly jumps to conclusions about other people based on nothing more than the way they look in one photo, and your own bias. Well, that and a person that does not know the difference between “their,” “there” and “they're.” What you should have written is “poor choices in their life.” For the record, illness is not always caused by lifestyle choices. How about a child born with a birth defect – what "poor choice" was made by an innocent child?

      “I have no problem helping the poor and less fortunate through a non profit or my own terms. The government forcing me to do so..NOT” Again, you reveal your ignorance. Before Health Care Reform, our tax dollars were already paying for other people's medical care...in the emergency room. The Affordable Care Act helps more people gain access to health insurance. This is the right thing to do from a moral & ethical standpoint, and it actually saves money. It's often cheaper to treat a problem early, in the doctor's office, rather than wait till it's so bad the person ends up in the emergency room. And yes, that's a huge oversimplification of the concept, but you seem like a pretty simple person.

      June 28, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • sam stone

      "The government forcing me to pay to protect you and your family, to pay for fire protection, police protection, is socialism....pure and simple."

      So, you would advocate eliminating police and fire departments?

      June 28, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • brian1204

      GETAJOB, Rick, no one is forcing you to live in civilization. There are costs to civilization. Government, helping one another, etc. is one of those costs.
      Go live by yourself in the wilderness. Oh wait, the only wilderness left is there because the government has helped to protect it! Oops. Perhaps another planet?

      June 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  13. MH

    We don't need more health insurance. We need to live healthier. All of us can live healthier, it just requires a small change every day. If you stop at a fast food restaurant, order salad. Don't drink soda, just water. Try to quit smoking. Focus on eating food for nutrition, not to treat yourself or drown your sorrows. Skip sweets. Eat fresh food, mostly vegetables. Cook at home. Help your family. Be kind. Walk and look at nature. There's nothing wrong with health care in an animal stall if it's good health care–okay, a stall might be too extreme–I meant, in a humble setting. We don't have to build clinics and hospitals made of marble with fountains and rooftop restaurants. Even in the "Hunger Games," the crime was repression, not simply poverty. Although there are forms of repression in America, they tend to be psychological more than systematic, unlike the death camps in other countries. I see poor people who martial their resources and conquer common diseases through learning, cooperation, and simple curiosity and respect toward their bodies. No health insurance will give health to a person, or stop them from making themselves sick, or pay for something that it can't control.

    June 28, 2012 at 3:37 am |
    • Michael

      So living heallthy, etc. is going to help a person magically recover from flesh eating bacteria or a deadly case of the flu? All that you're doing is creating excuses to justify your apathy towards those who are less fortunate than you are. There was a time in this country when the poor people could make arrangements to pay their doctors in certain ways... farmers could give doctors some of their crop for a certain number of weeks/months if they couldn't afford to pay. In those days, doctors were civil servants and the Hippocratic oath was REQUIRED (it's optional now)... it was about helping people first and foremost. Now the most important thing is for doctors to be millionaires while the poor die if they can't pay for health insurance, and for Big Pharma to rake in billions each year on overpriced medication to senior citizens who have to decide whether they're going to pay for their medicine or for their next month's groceries. You seem to be just fine with that situation, though.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:57 am |
    • Heygeo

      Poverty is repression... try it some time and see how much stronger the headwinds become to get out. Poverty is like a quicksand, easy to get stuck in but far more difficult to escape, and its not a coincidence. Many policies in place today across all forms of services were designed to do so, primarily because they were made to protect profits not people. Think about what your life would like poor and unable to obtain credit? Credit is the repressive engine used to stratify and cull the have nots from the haves. If you look at everything around you its the same you just have to look.

      June 28, 2012 at 4:17 am |
    • Leo

      Oh, so it's that simple, huh? Just live healthier, and that will fix everything? Well, let me spell out a case example for you, brain.

      I was always the prime example of healthy living. I don't eat fast food, junk food, or processed foods. I eat a lot of fresh/raw veggies and fruits, keep my own organic garden, and lean meats, beans, and legumes for protein. I've been a distance runner since I was 13. I've played intercollegiate sports, and earned awards for fitness when I was in the Army. I've never smoked or used drugs. I don't drink often, and never in excess. I drink mostly water and tea. I have no STD's. So... I'm doing everything right, yes?

      Almost three years ago, I started getting sick. I had no idea what was going on. They thought it was mono at first, but it kept getting worse. I eventually (after almost two years of suffering) got a diagnosis of Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. What's that? Imagine that lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and dermatomyositis had a demented love child. Go look it up – the disease would take too long to explain.

      Anyway, I spent THOUSANDS of dollars (and I DO have good insurance) as I got bounced through almost a dozen specialists and more tests than I can count. The doctors tossed me around like a volleyball and took forever to even decide on a treatment plan. I had no choice but to shell out the money because without help, I kept getting sicker.

      So, is this my fault? What did I do wrong? Clearly, I was doing everything you suggested to keep my health, but it wasn't enough. Am I somehow being punished? What's your answer, because clearly you know the solution to everything. Go on, tell me.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Momof3

      Unfortunately, while eating better and getting more exercise isn't the answer to all health ailments, I do agree with you the health care organizations need to put more focus, than is there currently, on preventative health care. Some diseases can be prevented with better life styles, and health care companies need to recognize, and possibly reward, those people that are 'doing the right thing to stay healthy'. For those disease that are random, or genetic, the only answer is compassion and equality in treatment.

      June 28, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  14. The brain

    CNN is unbiased... LOLZ!

    June 28, 2012 at 3:36 am |
    • Heygeo

      huh? how is reporting on what Wendell Potter said and ultimately motivated him to support universal healthcare Biased?
      or would you just rather this got swept under the rug, so the republican agenda goes unchallenged?

      June 28, 2012 at 4:03 am |
  15. azezel

    If a pastor comes down on the debate as being against obama care and for faith based charity then they can loose their 501 status for advancing political speech. We have an interesting situation where gov can go into the church but if the church goes into the state... or even attempts to do something the state wants to do instead then there is hell to pay.

    June 28, 2012 at 3:30 am |
    • Michael

      Azazel, you're joking, right? Do you remember the '04 election where the preachers were basically telling people to vote for Bush due to the issue of gay marriage? Yet none of them lost their tax exemption... then you have intelligent design, attempts to bring forced Christian prayer back into schools, etc... they're sticking their noses into the state's affairs all the time in their attempts to create a theocracy, oftentimes with no repercussion.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:43 am |
    • GM

      The churches should already lose their status. They actively lobby already. They're tax shelters.

      June 28, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  16. ATLApplePie

    "He says some Americans dismiss the uninsured, but they don’t realize how close they are to joining them. He says many of the people who attended the Remote Area Medical clinic were working people. Their jobs simply didn’t provide enough good medical care". Many of you are so smug, uncaring and dowright hateful. Many seem to hate the fact that the healthcare law changes might help some black people. Do you know there are more whites on welfare than blacks in this country? What he says is absolutely. People don't realize how close they, their core families, friends and relatives are to being uninsured or even underinsured. Also, don't forget coverage denials for pre-existing conditions. My 1 year old was denied treatment for excema under her parents insurance plan because Blue Cross, Blue Shield said it was a pre-existing condition from birth. Give me a break. Wake up people! Thanks Mr. Potter for having the courage to take a stand on this publicly.

    June 28, 2012 at 3:28 am |
  17. SC

    Don't say America can't be next Greek. You might see it happen sooner than you think. Greek was once so "important" that a lot of its alphabets were and still is used in math and science subjects and a lot of things these days are still centered around Greek mythology, god, goddess & philosophers. Greeks nowadays have to leave their children @ shelters not because kids have abusive parents but simply because they can't afford to feed their children. America can be next Greece sooner than you might think.

    June 28, 2012 at 3:15 am |
  18. Bribarian

    lol at the picture, Jabba the Illegal

    June 28, 2012 at 3:14 am |
    • Question

      Do you consider yourself a Christian?

      June 28, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • Bribarian

      no, guess you're gonna have to make up another straw man to attack

      June 28, 2012 at 3:20 am |
    • Leif

      Bribarian: I'm an atheist, and I side with Question. What was that about straw men?

      June 28, 2012 at 3:32 am |
    • Question

      Actually, I am really just curious to see if people who hold views such as your also define themselves as Christians.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:37 am |
    • Leif

      How do you define yourself, Question?

      June 28, 2012 at 3:47 am |
    • Question

      Atheist existentialist post-left individual anarchist

      June 28, 2012 at 3:49 am |
    • Leif

      Cool, I am a pantheist existentialist communist-libertarian libertarian-communist post-meno-pausal Dadaist with a preference for 1930s cinema. Oh, definitely pro-science and anti-GOP-fundamentalist-creationists-especially-those-who prefer-over easy-vs-scrambled.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:55 am |
    • Question

      Let me know when you become a humorist too.

      June 28, 2012 at 4:00 am |
    • Heygeo

      wow... not only are you ignorant but you managed to out yourself as a starwars dork... nicely done

      June 28, 2012 at 4:07 am |
    • Leif

      Let me know when humor knocks on your door and you answer it.

      June 28, 2012 at 4:12 am |
    • Rick

      You are a total waste of human DNA>

      June 28, 2012 at 7:11 am |
    • Holy Cow!

      LOL @ Bribarian. The repository of human fecal matter.

      June 28, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      How sad that you weren't able to lay that at Christianity's door

      June 28, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  19. Osamequin

    She is fortunate , she can afford the oxygen. Must be in the One-Percent.

    June 28, 2012 at 3:12 am |
  20. Genold

    Welcome to America. The new third world country.

    June 28, 2012 at 3:11 am |
    • Holy Cow!

      So sadly true.

      June 28, 2012 at 8:43 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.