Back in January 2007 I started blogging about health care reform. That’s called “good timing.” Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger launched his (unsuccessful) attempt to reform California’s health care system. Come 2008 the topic was an important difference in the campaigns of then Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Health care reform has been a dominant topic of American politics ever since.
That blog — creatively titled “The Alan Katz Health Care Reform Blog” — carried the sub-title “One Agent’s Perspective on Health Care Reform.” The blog’s purpose was not to be a repository of facts and forms concerning health insurance reform. There are plenty of excellent sites that provide that (just check out the Resources page for a sample). Instead, drawing on my background in government, politics and the health insurance industry, I sought to provide a context for what was happening with occasional predictions and clarifications to keep things interesting. Some people enjoyed it and the blog won accolades from the St. Lois Post-Dispatch, the Sacramento Bee, Lexis/Nexis and others
So why did I put the blog on hiatus?. While engaged in consulting and public speaking, finding the time to maintain the blog was manageable. When I started working full-time at SeeChange Health (now HealthMine), however, there weren’t enough hours in the day.
Another reason: enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act meant there was less need for context and a huge need for “how-to” advice. There are an army of organizations (most notably the National Association of Health Underwriters) who heroically provide that information. Finally, after more than four years, 500 posts, reviewing thousands of comments (and refereeing some vociferous and unwelcome battles among those commentators) I burned out.
So why revive the blog now? Well, SeeChange Health Insurance is no more. I’m focused on new endeavors like The Protect Plans and NextAgency and public speaking through the Alan Katz Group. Making time for the blog makes sense again. The timing seems right, too. With the 2016 presidential campaign revving up, the need to put the policy and rhetoric in context returns. And I missed the community that grew up around the original blog. We didn’t always agree, but, for the most part, we engaged in intelligent and respectful discussions.
So what will be different this time around? First, while health care reform will be an important focus of this site, I’m inclined to broaden into other issues as well. Second, I won’t be writing at a pace of 500+ posts in 50 months. And third, to sidestep the annoyance of those comment-wars, comments won’t post automatically, but will be curated. Weeding out rantsand name calling will help keep the blog a site I want to read, let alone write for.
So the blog is back. I hope you enjoy it.
And for those who don’t know me …
Alan Katz speaks and writes nationally on wellness, health care reform, sales and marketing, and strategic planning. He is the author of Trailblazed: Proven Paths to Sales Success, which provides insights on the steps professional producers take to achieve substantial sales growth.
Alan has held leadership positions in large and small businesses such as WellPoint, (now Anthem), Centerstone (now BenefitMall), and SeeChange Health (now HealthMine). Likewise his consulting firm, the Alan Katz Group, has provided sales development and business strategies to Fortune 500 companies and small agencies.
Alan is also a principal of a start-up, Insurgency Benefits, bringing The Protect Plans to market– a non-traditional benefit programs to reduce employers’ costs, improve employees’ health, and provide producers with a market advantage. He is also CEO and co-founder of Take44, the company behind NextAgency–enterprise software to help benefit brokers level the playing field with high-tech competitors.
A past president of the California and the National Associations of Health Underwriters, Alan led the legislative efforts of both organizations and testified before several Congressional and state legislative committees. In 2003 he received NAHU’s highest honor, the Harold R. Gordon Memorial Award, as Health Insurance Person of the Year. CAHU named Alan as its Member of the Year in 2000 and 2007 and he received a Presidential Citation in 2015. He is currently president of the Los Angeles Association of Health Underwriters.
Alan has a long history in public service. In addition to assuming leadership roles in a number of community organizations, he served as Chief of Staff to California’s Lieutenant Governor and as a member of the Santa Monica City Council. He has worked on numerous political campaigns, few of them successful. If having been a health insurance executive, a politician and a government official does not reflect a penchant for making questionable life decisions, Alan is also a lawyer having served as an investigating attorney with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
None of this means my meanderings are worthwhile, but most of it makes my mother proud.