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More Transparency From Me on Liberty Health Share

by John on 01/02/2015

Over the past 6 months, I have been posting a lot of content for Liberty Health Share on social media. You can hear radio shows and you can see postings on my two health care sites.

And in the months ahead, you will see a lot of videos explaining medical cost sharing.

But today I received an interesting Facebook post that made me stop and think about my online efforts and some new issues being raised by the new media.

The posting came from good friend and TV biz colleague Walter Behr who wrote:

Have you become a paid spokesperson for Liberty Health Share? Sounds like a paid spokesperson to me. What would you say if a Republican used that spin?

First, I would tell Walter that I would call out a Democrat too. But then I would tell him — he might be right. I realize I need to be even more transparent. Being open about these things is a good thing.

So here it is.

  • I am not a paid spokesperson for Liberty Health Share; there is no spokesperson contract. My company, NOWtv, however, is contracted to produce content for Liberty Health Share for which we are paid.
  • In addition, I am a member of Liberty Health Share. I am involved in medical cost sharing. My monthly share amount goes to someone else’s medical bills and theirs will go to me when I have medical bills. So I am just like any other member who wants to use Liberty Health Share programs.
  • And further, I am also what Liberty Health Share calls a member-sponsor which means I can market Liberty Health Share and get a commission for every new customer who joins due to my marketing efforts. Any member can become a member-sponsor. This, too, is not preferential treatment.

So, yes I can make money off all the postings I am producing for Liberty Health Share. If I, in any way, seemed to hide or negate that, I apologize. In my many postings about media bias, I have always emphasized that having a bias is fine as long as you disclose it.

If you listen to some of the radio broadcasts I have hosted and produced about medical cost sharing, I have mentioned my status as a member-sponsor and my potential for commissions.

The radio shows have been labeled under my Informed Not Inflamed brand which allows me to make my own statements and judgments about health care, medical cost sharing, and the Affordable Care Act.

Despite what I think were good efforts at transparency, and after considering Walter’s question, I will acknowledge my connection to Liberty Health Share even more in the future.

I am a member-sponsor of Liberty Health Share and my company contracts with Liberty Health Share.

Walter raises a bigger issue, though. There is an interesting dilemma of being a paid spokesperson in today’s social media world. Really, the best spokespersons for a company are the customers.

You rarely see big spokesperson contracts today. It’s not like it was in the 1990s or early 2000s when it seemed every company with a national audience needed either an athlete or Hollywood star in company spots. Sure, Andy Murray just signed a whopper of a deal with Under Armour but he is in the higher strata of athletes/personalities.

The reality is that most companies today find the expense of a major spokesperson is cost prohibitive compared to happy customers who blurt out the good news online to everyone they know — for nothing.

I sort of fall in the middle of this new media no-man’s land. I have not been a traditional TV host for almost 10 years. I have not been a news anchor – precluding me from any spokesperson work – for more than two years. So, I could legitimately use some of my on-air history to help deliver credible information for a company. But the reality is my on-air glory days are in the past. Even if they weren’t, I am no Andy Murray, nor ever was.

But in addition I am in a different position since my new job/talent/career is producing content for the new media. I doubt Andy Murray is carrying an HD camera, knows how to edit a news magazine piece off his iPhone, can host a radio show, or write an analytical magazine piece. So, I can be valuable in many other ways to companies.

More importantly, I only work for companies whose products and services I use. Liberty Health Share is a non-profit that is changing the way we look at health care. I am looking for companies that are creating new markets using new technology. Because I can pick and choose clients, it makes my efforts as a communicator so much easier and delightful.

Any questions, let me know.



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