Monday, November 15, 2010

Coventry Health Care's Deadly Spin


“I know what insurers are thinking because, not long ago, I was on their side. I am sorry to admit it, but over nearly two decades I had a hand in planning the industry’s PR and public policy strategies to either kill or shape any health care reform proposal that might hinder profits (my emphasis). I was part of the strategic-communications team that planned and carried out the successful attack on the Clinton plan in the 1990s as well as the one that killed the patients’ bill of rights a few years later. I left my job handling communications for Cigna because I didn’t have the stomach to be part of yet another campaign to cheat Americans out of the reform they needed (my emphasis).”

~Wendell Potter of the Center for Public Integrity, published by Newsweek, November 15, 2010

One of the most dramatic stories of the Old Testament is the story of a shepherd boy David who singlehandedly defeats a large enemy.  God entered the battle with David, who with a slingshot and a few stones, slayed a giant.

Now it’s my turn. I, too, have been misjudged as too weak to fight against the wicked and immoral policies of Fortune 500 Coventry Health Care Inc of Bethesda MD. My trial against them nears. I will not be alone in the courtroom.

My fifth stone: Meet Fr. Jeremiah McSweeney, the pastor of St. Michael Catholic Church in Wheeling West Virginia. St. Michael, one of the largest catholic parishes in the Diocese of Wheeling Charleston West Virginia, has been my home for over fifty-five years.

I first approached Fr. Jerry for spiritual direction in 2009. The direction continues to this day. Last March we met again.
Listening to my bizarre story, Father did not move. He expressed no doubts. No questioning of my integrity and honesty, only 100% acceptance and an offer to help “in whatever way” I would need him.

March 23, 2010:

“The bright spot of my day was the spiritual direction with Father Jerry. We spoke for over an hour about my work for justice and discussed ways to bring balance to my life. Father loaned me two tapes by Dyer. "Dreaming" is gthe first topic. That was providential.

Fr. McSweeney blessed me unlike any other spiritual director to date.  He spoke of the Holy Spirit's role in providing me the spiritual energy to win against Coventry Heatlh Care. He searched for words to describe my personality and character and added something I needed to hear, "You are fully alive and one heck of a woman."

As I continue to be besieged with ruthless accusations, I need only go to my memory bank of my many visits with Fr. Jerry.

 “Lies. Lies. Lies, Fr. Jerry once exclaimed.”

I smiled. Apparently, many Coventry personnel do stomach disseminating false information.

Tuesday’s Tale
A Community of Reform Advocates

“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose?”
                                                                                                                                                  ~ Romans 8:37

It has been five long years since Fr. Jim O’Brien, S.J., a professor at Wheeeling Jesuit University and social activist, advised me that to win a battle for social justice, one must join a community of like believers. Over the years, as I fought against constant assaults from Coventry - 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 -  I shared my story and doors opened.
A community of support grew.

Today five holy men are the core of my community. Each a respected cleric of great faith and action. They are wise men who know that Coventry can attempt to run from justice, but, with God on our side, ultimate victory is ours.

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