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California Insurance Agents Get a Little Inspiration from Gary Dietrich

by John Hansen

Gary Dietrich, the President and cofounder of Citizen Voice, spoke to a group of California insurance agents on Wednesday, May 18 at the CAHU Capitol Summit. Dietrich is a bipartisan political analyst, and this came through loud and clear in his talk to California health care brokers.

He is a graduate from the University of Santa Barbara and he has a Masters from Harvard. Dietrich has served as staff to state assembly and senate politicians.

Dave Fear, CAHU VP of Legislation, said, “In Sacramento we hear Gary a lot. He is a well-respected voice.” Fear set the bar high and Mr. Dietrich delivered with an informative and inspiring talk to California insurance agents.

The Important Role of the CA Insurance Agent

Dietrich began by saying, “I want to talk person to person today.” He emphasized the importance of the role of the insurance agent. “You are a in a really important industry.”

Dietrich told a story about his 90 year old mother that has had him thinking more about health care and insurance lately. He told these California insurance agents, “She had not been in the hospital until 5 years ago when she got surprise colon cancer.” He recalls that she was in the Kaiser Permanente O.R. at age 85 and the physician asked, “When was the last time you were in the hospital?” She pointed to her 50 year old daughter and said, “When I had her.”

The Political Climate in 2016

Dietrich went on to comment about the political climate. He said that many feel that the future of our state and nation hangs in the balance. He quoted another political analyst who said, “If you’re not confused this year, you don’t know what’s going on.”

After 29 years in politics, Dietrich told the California insurance agents, “I have never seen a year like this one.” He alluded to Donald Trump, saying, “We have a candidate who’s never held elected office running for the most powerful one in world. And, we have Bernie who wasn’t part of the party [a year ago] that he’s running neck and neck for.”

He mentioned that all 3 branches for the 1st time are in play in this election. Supreme Court Justice Scalia passed away, and with a 4-4 tie between conservative and liberal this nomination is critical. Based on the next appointment to the Supreme Court, “the judicial branch is up for grabs,” he told the room full of California insurance agents.

Obviously the president is up for re-election, but Dietrich added, “The executive power [of the President] continues to grow [and] increase in impact.” Regarding Congress, he said that the legislative branch is also up for grabs. Democrats are committed to taking back at least 1 branch, most likely the senate.

Change and Uncertainty is in the Air

Dietrich referred to a bumper sticker that said, “If God had intended us to vote, he would have given us a candidate.” He said that uncertainty is the watchword of the day.

He referred to some big ballot measures, and mentioned that there could be some cataclysmic shifts depending on who controls the white house. Thus he encouraged CAHU California insurance agents saying that if you’re feeling confused, “You are not alone with these questions. That’s the norm.”

There are 38 million people in California. Dietrich says many are constantly threatening to go to Canada, but they don’t. “We’re all in this together, and we’re really being tested.” He added, “We’ve been in sticky wickets before.”

California Agents Help Consumers Understand Health Care

Deitrich quoted Clare Boothe Lewis in an effort to encourage the brokers in the room, “There are no hopeless situations, only men who have grown hopeless about them.” He added, “It’s easy to think that chicken little is the real president of the US,” but then he referred to Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt who united the nation during times of great division.

He empathized the importance of California insurance agents saying, “People are trying to figure out the most basic of things in life like health care coverage. These are the people you serve.”