At a Glance
- Career History: president, Health Insurance Association of America (1998 to 2001); staff director, House Ways and Means Health subcommittee (1995 to 1998); executive vice president, Health Insurance Association of America (1993 to 1995)
- Birthday: January 4, 1952
- Hometown: New Orleans, La.
- Alma Mater: The Johns Hopkins University, B.A. (social and behavioral sciences), 1974; Tulane University School of tropical Medicine, M.P.H. (health systems management), 1980
- Spouse: JoAnn Willis
- Office: 801 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 245Washington, DC 20004202.624.1500
- Web site
Path to Power
Kahn was born in New Orleans, La.
His exposure to the city's politics came at a young age from his mother, who was active in the League of Women Voters. "I could remember when I was 8 years old going to the state legislature with her," Kahn said.
The early 1990s was a pivotal time in health-care policy. Bill Clinton took office promising sweeping reforms. Kahn said the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA) supported reforming the broken health-coverage system, but not with all of the Clinton administration's proposals. "We decided we needed to be a real squeaky wheel," he said.
Kahn was in charge of preparing an HIAA advertising campaign that could get the attention of Americans in their homes. The common refrain at the HIAA was that health-care reform would be decided around the kitchen tables of America.
Kahn's early political mentor was one-time Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). The two met in 1968 when a 16-year-old Kahn volunteered for Nelson Rockefeller's (R) presidential campaign. Their friendship became rocky in the 1980s, but Kahn said they have since mended it and are still in touch.
Kahn worked as a Hill staffer for Sen. Dan Quayle (R-Ind.) and Sen. David Durenberger (R-Minn.). On the House Ways and Means Committee, Kahn worked closely with ranking member Rep. Bill Archer (R-Tex.) and Rep. Willis Gradison (R-Ohio), the ranking member on the tax-writing panel's Health subcommittee. He also worked with the Health subcommittee chairman, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), who still holds that position.