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. Pete

    Sure charity is a Christian principle, but forcing your favorite charity on everyone in society is not. I am a Christian and I would love for everyone to be taken care of, but I don't believe in using the government to force my neighbor to donate to my cause. Can you imagine Jesus sending Roman centurions around demanding "donations" from everyone to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, or help the sick? It is a ridiculous idea. Mr Potter's heart is in the right place, but the policies he is advocating are not.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • paulronco

      >> but I don't believe in using the government to force my neighbor to donate to my cause.

      Then stop paying taxes.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • paulronco

      >> Can you imagine Jesus sending Roman centurions around demanding "donations" from everyone to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, or help the sick? It is a ridiculous idea.

      It's not a ridiculous idea. Jesus simply chose to avoid politics. Does that mean he advocated anarchy? The dirty work of running government is left to us.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms

      It's called civilization.

      You see a long long time ago people figured out that they were better off pooling their resources for the greater good of the group. You have benefitted greatly from this. It's why you can read this article. Though I must say, your comprehension is poor.

      Anyway, if you don't like civilization, move into a cave somewhere and no one will ask anything of you. Send us a postcard.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • me

      Yeah – it's totally a ridiculous idea for anyone else to fund the fire company that will come to put out your house when it's on fire. I TOTALLY agree!

      June 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Pete

      I want everyone to have health care, but I am bad because I don't want to do it through the government?

      June 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      And what solution would you propose?

      June 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Pete

      There are many solutions that exist outside of government. Remember charity hospitals? Remember when religious organizations used to help care for people? We aren't going to solve this on a CNN comment thread, but for me, asserting that the government is the only solution for providing healthcare, and that government healthcare is a Christian principle, is non-starter.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms


      Health care is a science that requires many years of study to master. Religious leaders are neither capable nor qualified to dispence health care or make health care decisions for patients.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      So religous organizations, that will ignore certain medications or scientific advances based on doctrine. Who will refuse the treatment of some people, and will attempt to force their morality on employees who get into the field to help people regardless of the patients religion or orientation. Yup that sounds like a lovely plan.
      Charity hospitals, and how would they continue running? Donations and government assistance, so it would be the same as government providing the healthcare through taxes. Do you see the problem in your "alternate solutions".

      June 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Riley

      Do you believe in Medicare? If so then you are forcing me to pay for your government run healthcare.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms


      Well said.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Pete

      @ HawaiiGuest

      I don't believe your blank generalizations are accurate. In my home town, many of the hospitals were affiliated with religious organizations and it was never an issue for the community. In general though, your response does not surprise me. I don't expect statists to believe the poor can be taken care of by anyone but the government.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      When you come up with a better, cheaper, and more efficeint solution, then present it to congress and mention my tag and tell me I was wrong. Religious organizations always have an alternate goal, and charities are supported by the people and government anyway. How do churches make their money again? Oh yea ti.thes and donations. Either way both of your "solutions" will reduce the pool of resources by reducing the demographics that give to the providers, not to mention create a host of other problems when you get the inevitable crazies running it.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms


      Please educate yourself. Do as the writer of the article did and spend time in these "charity" hospitals. An uninformed opinion is just more hot air. We are all just one layoff from losing everything including our lives. No other developed nation allows this. It's just about changing our priorities. We spend more on our military than the next 26 nations combined. We spend 3 times what it costs to educate a child on incarcerating young adults. There's nothing remotely Christian about the stance you're taking on this issue.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Pete

      I get that you guys are anti-religion. Religious organizations are just one facet of our society that takes care of the needy. I think you should be able to donate to whatever organization treats patients according to your personal morals.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      So I guess that means you have no better solution, and you can't bring yourself to actually address the points brought against your suggestions. To bad, I was kind of hoping for more.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Jmdqk7

      Bishop Hairy Palms and Hawaii Guest,

      What makes you believe the US Govt is capable of running a universal healthcare program? Failing gov't healthcare programs like Medicaid and Medicare are great examples showing the government has no way to support this bill. Look at how the government runs the United States Postal Service. They will just throw billions of dollars at it to keep it afloat but at some point we aren't going to have money to keep doing that. I agree with your premises that reform needs to be made but putting your trust in the government to run it successfully and financial responsible is humorous.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • about time

      if someone were starving would you consider that you might be forcing food on them? No!!!
      You would help them out and share food with them! Isn't that right? Forcing a basic need on them!
      Shame on all of us! What is wrong with us! Thinking that we might be forcing something so vital
      and basic on someone else. well that's just Anti-american! Govt might take over–although don't
      forget about all the perks you get already with your tax dollars. Forget the poor–it's not in our backyard, right?

      June 27, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Jmdqk7

      Some of the very neediest will benefit by having some coverage. However, people need to get their head's out of the sand. This government plan will have some perk's that commercial healthplan such as the elimination of caps. The coverage they provide is going to be much worse. (I work for a wheelchair provider) Government run insurances will cover just the bare minimum. An ALS patient will be thrown in a standard group 3 power wheelchair but he won't get covered for the amenities that he is absolutely needs to sustain a quality of life. He will be house bound for the rest of his life because government insurances like medicare and medicaid deny transport brackets. He will denied sip and puff electronics because they are deemed "personal care, comfort and convenience" so he will be unable to independently operate his power wheelchair.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Greg Kegg

      I don't know why so many people believe that Obamacare is forcing the government to pay for people that don't have insurance or are lazy. EMTALA, passed by Ronald Reagan forces almost all hospitals to accept anyone with or without insurance as patients. The hospitals pass on the expense of that coverage to those that are insured which in the end costs us as a country more. During Bush's presidency when questions of soaring health costs was raised the Republican government thought it was better to do nothing, spend more money than Obamacare on healthcare in the country and in the words of Bush, all Americans have healthcare because anyone can go to any hospital and be treated. Beyond being the right thing to do to cover most Americans with healthcare it is also the most fiscally conservative thing to do. It will actually make sure most contribute in some manner to the healthcare that almost every American will use during their lifetime thus eliminating to some degree freeloaders.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      Once again, if you think you have a better solution, let's hear it.

      June 27, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Grand Old Party of Amerika

      Pete is damn straight. If i help you fellow Americans is out of the KINDNESS Of my heart. When I don't feel like it, you can totally die for all our care. America is not for the weak anyway. Why should we spend our tax dollars helping you loosers that can't get a freaking job? You got sick? Too bad. Next please. America must help the billionaires and the Romneys of America. Only the rich deserve to be richer as they can trickle down their richness straight in to our Republican pockets. As for the rest of you, accept reality that the best you can ever be is 3 dollars an hour. Hell if you made anymore, you would be TOO RICH FOR AMERIKA. Halleluah, Amen and Kumbaya all in one.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:19 am |
  2. Bishop Hairy Palms


    You must be mistaken. Obama isn't the brown skinned socialist running around giving everyone free health care. That was Jesus.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Nah man, Jesus was white, hated immigrants and told those slackers who wanted their blindness cured to get a job.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  3. sanjosemike

    Even though I am conservative, I can see the liberal side of this clearly:

    1. A group of 9 highly privileged elderly lawyers( with permanent health care and pensions) will DECIDE on whether or not you can get insurance.
    2. Conservatives have done a bad job in explaining to Americans how they can hope to get insurance if they have a pre-existing condition and/or retire prior to Medicare age.

    I see those things. They are real.

    I also see a gigantic bureaucracy that will have a NON-ELECTED executive (the head of HHS) with MORE power than any elected executive ever had to make decisions for YOU. I also wonder how we will be able to afford it.

    Even without Obamacare it is STILL possible to get health insurance (with pre-existing conditions) by forming a small family business with 2 or more employees. Insurers are NOT permitted to ask about pre-existing conditions for small business insurance. ANY family business will work. (lawn cutting, Amway, pet grooming, anything)

    You can see why I'm deeply ambivalent. I'm sure many of you are too.


    June 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Fred Evil

      I'm not ambivalent in the slightest. I see healthcarefailing all around us, even though the capacity and desire is there to help ALL Americans.
      What I see is a system that has NO problem hunting down, arresting, trying (AND DEFENDING), convicting, sentencing, and then housing a pickpocket who took $20 out of someone's wallet. That arrest, trial, conviction and imprisonment will cost the US taxpayers $50,000!!! For $20 from a wallet?! NOBODY gets a bill, we all JUST PAY IT, without a second thought, it's accepted.
      But if you need a $20 prescription for antibiotics so you DON'T DIE, and that same system says you are SooL?!?
      Single-payer insurance is the ONLY model that is moral. Making healthcare a for-profit business is deplorable!
      I'd rather pay for everyone's antibiotics, than everyone's jail cells. I have a gun and can defend my property, I CAN'T CURE MY OWN CANCER!!

      June 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Patrick

      How are we going to pay for it – you obviously don't pay attention – because we are already paying for it. When Reagan was president he signed a bill that required all emergency rooms to accept patients – regardless of their ability to pay for that care. so who picks up the bill – you and me bud, in the form of higher premiums and copays. Here is the problem with the Republican arguement on this law – they pretend that they are upset with the manadate – but that's a lookie loo. The insurance companies actually fricken love the mandate. What they really hate are the other provisions that require insurance companies to not put lifetime caps on coverage, accept people with pre-existing conditions, insure children to the age of 25 on your policy and that they cap the amount and insurance company can take in and use as profit compared to what they pay out. The Republicans have americans convinced that they shouldn't be required to buy anything – ha. If they succeed – they have just made you reach deeper into your pocket and support something that is clearly in your best interests.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Scott B

      "I also see a gigantic bureaucracy that will have a NON-ELECTED executive (the head of HHS) with MORE power than any elected executive ever had to make decisions for YOU. " Doesn't that describe ALL health insurance companies?

      June 27, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  4. Gustav

    "He says the New Testament is filled with Jesus providing universal health care." I laughed out loud when I read that but, seriously, are you kidding me?

    That statement is, first of all, a disservice to who Jesus was and why he was sent from God - to redeem mankind - and second, a total co-opting of the Savior in order to make a cheap political point.

    Besides, the biblical record is that Jesus did not heal every sick person he ever met. He did not "provide universal health care."

    The New Testament presents the healing miracles of Jesus as signs of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God, not as an opportunity for leftist twaddle on the issue of health care.

    For all the admirable care and concern he exhibits, Mr. Potter needs a better Christology.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • dyslexic dog

      the bible is a story book anyway. no-one can prove any of it ever happened or any of its characters ever existed.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • paulronco

      You're an ignorant pig... from one Christian to another.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • voradtralundir

      I can see his story was lost on your self important belief that you are first in everything and the needs of others take a distant second to your beliefs. Quote Christ and the Bible all you like, you are not a Christian... turn in your membership card.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Twainland

      Relax! Don't you think you're taking his comparison too literally. He's only saying Jesus was (and IS) there for everyone.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • ksmary

      Do you remember that Christ sent his followers out telling them to heal the sick. Sounds like he was pretty much into universal health care to me. He did what he could, without overplaying his hand, when he was here, and told others to go out and continue his work.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  5. EyeRoller

    And CNN wonders why it only has 50 viewers left? At least MSNBC is honest about who they are. The only thing lacking at the end of this article would be the voice of Obama saying he approves this message.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms

      Specifically, what in this article do you dispute?

      Don't like facts?

      Go back to Faux News where they only tell you what you want to hear.

      June 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • paulronco

      Wendell Potter advocated strongly for a single payer system. Obama flatly rejected it, even though he claimed to support it while running for Senator of Illinois. Obama didn't approve this message; Potter is far more progressive and liberal than Obama. But, you are free to try again.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Moelips

      Instead of rolling your eyes, try opening them. Take a serious look at your friends, family and neighbors. Ask them if they have the appropriate health care. Experiencing loss of a job and healthcare for my family and myself, I can relate to what Mr. Potter experienced first hand. Instead of thinking about yourself, maybe think about those you care for and love that are around you and see where they are at. I think you'll be surprised at what you find.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Riley

      its an opinion piece much like the Wall Street Journal or Fox News would have. Is it ok for WSJ or Fox News to have opinion pieces but not CNN? The central premise is correct. We ration healthcare and most of us are a layoff away from being uninsured, unless both spouses work. Not that I agree with the HC law in its current state. However, how many Republican baby boomers are really ready to give up Medicare. Why would they? They will take out 3x more than they paid in. Its the Hypocrisy that kills me. The same anti-reform group, that does not want a mandate or govt run HC, is the same group that insists govt HC run medicare benefits to them Must be paid in full, eventhough that one budget item could bankrupt our entire country!

      June 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  6. Bishop Hairy Palms

    Republicans walked away from the negotiating table when it came time to reform health care.

    They've fought against and defeated every attempt at reform for the last 40 years.

    What we've ended up with this time is an imperfect plan.

    But it is a step forward.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • melle w

      Republicans never had a seat at the table, my friend. There were totally blocked from the negotiations, even though they had many good ideas that would have made it more affordable. This legislation is total chaos and consists mostly of waivers and payoffs for the administration's cronies.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • dyslexic dog

      well said Bishop!

      June 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms

      melle w

      Again, they walked away from the table and refused to even talk.

      Only 3 Republicans were even willing to talk and they were all moderates.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Allen

      I find it frustrating that people equate the work of Christ to the role of government. Health care is not a right. If you and I were stranded on an island. We would not be telling one another that we are responsible to feed, cloth, and take care of one another. That is your responsibility. There is a difference between the role of the government and that of the church. The role of government is to ensure that we all have equal access to these things. The church is there to help you if you can not do it yourself. America is just becoming a nation of lazy people.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms


      If we were stranded on a desert island we would both die because you would only be interested in helping yourself. People formed civilizations for this reason. Because they discovered that we all benefit when we are able to pool our resources for the good of the group. That's how we were able to develop language, writing, education, science, health care, transportation, and all of the comforts and conveniences we enjoy today. The church has almost always been in opposition to this things. Choosing instead to oppose any progress that was a threat to it's power and control.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • voradtralundir

      Allen, your brotherly love is touching, and also non-existent.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • paulronco

      >> We would not be telling one another that we are responsible to feed, cloth, and take care of one another. That is your responsibility.

      I see that you have risen to a moral highpoint that is slightly below that of an animal. Congratulations.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Fred Evil

      "Republicans never had a seat at the table, my friend."
      Absolute RUBBISH! The President invited them time and again to sit down, they 'would prefer not to.'
      They chose not to participate, and we got the AHA.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Well then Allen it's a good thing you aren't stranded on an island with anyone. Your att.itude is the eptiome of (and I'm going to use the technical term here), a selfish di.ck.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "Republicans never had a seat at the table, my friend. There were totally blocked from the negotiations, even though they had many good ideas that would have made it more affordable"

      They literally walked out, left the room, and then after all was done moaned about not being part of the process.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  7. Cough

    Potter is all too rare- a guy with a deep moral conscience.He stepped out of the golden coach for a moment and saw the
    suffering masses.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  8. Eric

    One-sided, light on 'belief', and mostly a fluff piece for Obamacare.

    How hard would it have been to even had a quote from one pastor/priest/seminarian against this plan for even the smallest appearance of neutrality?

    CNN usually does better – and in this case needs to strive for better.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Snow

      ok so looks like you are a religious schmuck.. why do YOU think this guy was wrong in saying he is following jesus footsteps who helped cure the poor and outcast?

      June 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Moe Vee

      I guess you have the desire and the wisdom to decide who should get health care. Well you do not. Maybe the work is sentimental because there are 50 million Americans without insurance. I work in a hospital that is part of a large medical system. People like you need to join me for about 30 minutes. You will discover how shallow, callous and self absorbed you are but despite that you will cry, vomit and gasp for air because you people live in a fantasy world where dreams come true every time.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • mkt

      It is opinion get over it. You have one just like everyone else has one.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • dyslexic dog

      Snow ... you're kidding right?!?!
      finally a christian acting like Jesus would and you complain because CNN reports on it. This example should be Christian story of the year!
      I think you are getting the Republican Party and Christianity mixed up. Who do you support because one is not the other!

      June 27, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • dyslexic dog

      I mean Eric ... sorry Snow

      June 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • me

      Neutrality? This is a blog, not a news article. I mean really – have you visited the "blog" Fox has – Fox nation?????

      June 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      you think you would find a pastor that would say looking after those unable to do so is not the christian thing to do?

      June 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Eric

      Moe Vee – I work with autistic and epileptic children every day, most of which do not have health insurance – so I am fully aware of the problems with the current system. However, that has nothing to do with my critiques that this post is 1) One-sided or 2) incredibly light on the theological justifications for supporting the current health care bill.

      And dyslexic dog – I think you've gotten Jesus and yourself mixed up – because I hardly can claim with such certainty what Jesus would actually do. While most people believe that health care coverage should be greatly expanded – that does not mean I agree with the means by which Obamacare has gone about it. Ends do not justify the means, and to suggest that those against the bill are doing so to deny the poor coverage is dishonest – and bearing false witness frankly.

      Lastly – my original post still stands, and gives no indication on what I actually believe. The article is poorly argued and is nothing more than an anecdote and should have been filed under an opinion section.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Scott

      Well said Eric.

      June 27, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • AngiG

      Eric – it is not only filed under and "Opinion" section, it is filed under the "Religion Blog" section ....... It is important to understand the most of the stories in the center area of the home page are some form of opinion, blog or lighthearted (non-journalistic) pieces. The articles on the left, unless noted as "Opinion:" are journalistic.

      June 28, 2012 at 1:37 am |
  9. Bishop Hairy Palms

    The single greatest accomplishment of the conservative movement in this country has been to convince millions of weak minded Americans that selfishness, greed, and hatred are good, Christian values.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • ThatOneDude

      They aren't good values, but they are Christian values. At least, Christianity as practiced in the USA.

      June 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • alex chapman

      THEY are responsible for their own salvation. Everyone who calls themselves a Christian should start by reading the Gospel of Matthew for themselves. Don't just accept what some Religious leader tells you.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Marc L

      That's pretty funny, since the greatest scam the liberals have pulled off is to guilt you into believing that greed is bad, everybody should have equal, meanwhile the whole time them and a select few of their friends get richer and richer.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  10. REG in AZ

    The problem isn't whether Obama's health care reform is the best or even close to being the best, the Republican's rejected that opportunity when they refused to cooperate, to compromise or to offer any bipartisan effort to fine-tune the program and instead put their political strategy and serving Special Interests above their responsibility to the people. Now they want to sell the people on repealing the reform and to trust them to enact something better – how can anyone trust them to all of sudden develop a conscience, become responsible and put the people's interests above the interests of their strong supporters who strongly support their political ambitions. If the Supreme Court does like they did with their ruling on campaign contributions and supports the interests of "the few", knocking down the current health care reform, then once again the people loose. There is no doubt that health care reform is desperately needed and the playing of politics with it, politicians and Special Interests putting self-serving interests first, is disgusting and by all standards should be considered criminal.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • tom in CT

      i worked for the asme organization as Mr Potter, and they should not be in the business of caring for huimans. It was all about profit – all the time, everyday in everyway. It is no way forward.

      We need a common sense solution, however, not more red tape.

      Remeber, the road to hell is filled with good intentions. We can not afford goverment involverment. Tjhey do nothing correctly.

      June 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Hawk in texas

      Not only do the republicans want to do away with health care, they want to do away with social sercuity, medicare and medicade. not to mention a few hundred other projects that help the poor and needy. so they can give the 1% more tax breaks.they have allready started talking about making the bush tax cuts permanent.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  11. Reality

    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.

    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 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • alex chapman

      You missed the thrust of Potter's message: The Words of Jesus compel all who claim to believe in him to give w/out reservation, just as Jesus gave & just as the Father has given. Be LIBERAL with your giving, not Conservative.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Reality

      So we should send the medical bills to Jesus and his followers??

      June 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • independentlyowned

      Some good ideas. But first, what is a self-inflicted STD? Stealing a vial of HIV positive blood and injecting yourself? Secondly, euthanasia is already illegal, so saying no universal coverage should go towards it is moot.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Squeezebox

      I hate to tell you, but STD's are by their very nature not self inflicted.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • DDanny1

      The Buffets and Gates already have set up charities and trusts with almost all of the money they have (over 90% of their estates. About a year ago I read that the private charity they have set up is bigger than the largest 25 private charities set up by those known to be conservative/GOP backers. Gates and Buffet are both, like Jesus was in his day, liberals. Maybe you should ask the Koch brothers, or Miraim Aberson to pledge hundreds of millions to charity instead of getting a republican elected President..
      It's interesting that you feel only those who share your religious beliefs should qualify for universal healthcare. Jesus provided a lot of free healthcare and I doubt those receiving it was given a litmus test based on their beliefs.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Reality

      Self-inflicted STD- contracting an STD because you failed to wear a condom or you did not ensure your partner was wearing one.

      June 27, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  12. Snow

    But.. but.. the conservative christians have been telling for the last 3 yrs that obama's health care is against god's message and bad for the country. and, of course, we know that the conservatives are always correct.. so is this potter guy a heretic then? like the sign of anti-christ's coming?

    June 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  13. barbara

    If he really saw the light he would realize that we need a single payer system. Of course that would mean that he'd lose his job as big Health Ins. executive. One thing people don't realize is that Obama's plan (if passed) will be a green light for health insurance companies to yet again raise their premiums on existing policy holders to accomadate the mandates. Ironically what will happen is more people will find it necessary to drop their policies because of the increase in premiums. I would gladly pay a penalty for not having insurance rather than the $12,000 we pay now.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      he quit his job as an exec even though it meant losing a 6 figure job with bonuses. I think he knows what it means

      June 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Bijouandbucky

      He said that the biggest problem is that insurance companies are for profit. How can the insurers be loyal to both customers and shareholders at the same time? The more they spend on the customer needs, the less they can pay to their shareholders. This is the big problem.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Allen

      Barbara you are full of it. I have had health insurance pretty much my whole life. My premiums for my family is in the neighborhood of $1,400 a year. I think that is a reasonable rate. Many Americans like yourself have become reliant and cowardly. Actually, my health insurance is cheaper than auto or life. You are a beggar on the corner of Washington begging for someone else to take care of you. You should be ashamed of yourself

      June 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Beth

      Did you read the part where he quit his job. He' s no longer a executive...

      June 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • WachetAuf


      $1400 a year for your entire family? While I like to accept your claim, it does require some amount of cross examination. Where do you live? Is it supplemented by your employer or anyone else? What are the deductibles, exlusions? Can you send me a copy of your insraunce policy and bills for insurance premiums?

      June 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • AngiG

      Allen – sounds like you have Union insurance. Lucky you. My husband had it for years before the place he worked at closed, and all we had to pay was $30/mo union dues. My father, who had insurance pretty much his whole adult life, and at decent rates, no less, had to pay nearly $700/mo for COBRA when he got terminal cancer. And that was JUST FOR HIM, and the rate had nothing to do with his condition – that is just what non-group insurance costs.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:19 am |
  14. Emerald Laughter

    If everyone who profits off the calamity of others were to grow a conscience like this man, the world would be a better place.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  15. Seamusgirl

    As my pastor recently said, I am not a Democrat, I am not a Republican..I serve only one King and He is above All Others.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  16. Rhope

    Thanks for this~ If nothing else, it speaks against the stereotypes held in today's society: if you are a Christian, you are a conservative, you are a republican and you must be opposed to everything Obama.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • steve

      A majority of Catholics voted for Obama and are going to again. Last time I checked they are a christian group. Try again.

      June 27, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  17. Seamusgirl

    While I see what you are saying, you didnt comment on the health care issue. This article didnt say anything about alternative energy, which I am all for, but about people who cannot just go to the doctor if they are unwell. That should be considered inconceivable in one of the richest countries in the world. but as long as they dont tackle the "for-profit" of it all, then nothing will be changed regarding health care.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  18. dyslexic dog

    Here's an idea ... we should start a religion based around Wendell Potter's good deeds and in 2,000 years it could be one of the world's dominant forces and Wendell could be revered as part of the holy quadrinity. Him and God and Jesus and Joseph Smith.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  19. WachetAuf

    It is good to see someone like this man finally make the connection between Biblical principles and the relationships between men. Not many "Christians" are able to make the connection because they never read the Bible let alone understand it. Jesus himself was a revolutionary who taught us to think for ourselves and not to blindly allow others (wolves in sheep's clothing) to think for us. We buy into the evil rhetoric for many other reasons, especially because it is convenient and we are narcissists who are led by primitive herding instincts. But, "Christians", Republicans alike, have no fear. If you stay at the center of the "herd" you will not be eaten by any communists, socialists, stalinists. The wolves will not allow it because their existence is dependent upon you. They will be around for a very long time. They have the wealth and the skill to accomplish the "big lie". The Bible seems to indicate that there are many more of you than this man. And, majority rules.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Lengrady75

      Jesus was an apocalyptic rabbi who thought the world was ending in his life time. He was obviously wrong and he is obviously not God.

      June 27, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • melle w

      nobody ever read this health care law either, before they fell in line behind President Obama to vote for it and unleashed it on the American consumer. Although, many democrats in Congess and the Senate had to be bribed with back-room deals from the administration, payoffs and promises that he never kept.

      June 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • WachetAuf


      I cannot disgree with you about that. But, what it takes to get to a solution is for every one on both sides, acting in good faith, with a resolve to reach a "fair and balanced" approach, casting aside all rigid and untested and unproven ideologies and theories. As long as the context is a bitter fight for the promotion of untested and unproven theories, then both sides will resort to the use of such tools and methods as they can muster to "defeat" the other side. We are here, not because of the evil of one side or the other. We are here because all of us are driven by primitive and impulsive instincts rather than reason.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  20. ART

    Americans are funny they don't want socialism but don't touch their medicare of social security.If we don't wake up we are gonna be left behind South Korea is investing 2% of their annual budget towards green initiatives but when our President talks about alternative energy the right just dismisses it as hog wash,so keep being dependant on foreign oil. Rethuglicans have no vision all they want to do it take us backwords to where black people and women cannot vote

    June 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • dyslexic dog


      June 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • melle w

      It is sad that the writer is heavily steeped in Obama talking points and so light on the facts. The article is so full of mis-information, I wouldn't even know how to begin to correct him.

      June 27, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • homardy

      They'd win every election!

      June 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • WachetAuf

      Many, many Americans cannot even tell you the name of the first president of the US let alone engage in a reasoned dialogue about various forms of government or competing economics theories. They, instead, are lead to believe in Utopian pipe dreams which can only be accomplished through some kind of Stalinist dictatorship. And, that is just what many of them seek. An Armageddon followed by a 1000 years of peace. Can you imagine these people even knowing the name of Milton Friedman and his influence on economic theory, let alone the contradictions and sloppiness of his later ideas?

      June 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Allen

      Art you are pretty d u m b. I don't want to go back to slavery or a time before women's sufferage. I do want an America that is rooted in one's hard work. Today we are a nation of lazy, cowardly people. People afraid to work and take care of themselves. People like yourself whine about someone else feeding you, housing you, and taking you to the doctor. Oh, and your kids to...

      June 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "The article is so full of mis-information, I wouldn't even know how to begin to correct him."

      Well do try Melle, even just a little bit, we would love to see what you come up with.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Phil

      Everyone is opposed to a single payer system. Until they turn 65. The United States over the last decade flushed $3 trillion dollars down the drain in Iraq and Afghanistan without so much as a peep. Imagine the healthcare system we could have had in this country for that kind of money.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
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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.