Karen Ignagni - 9 People to Watch in Healthcare

Name: Karen Ignagni

Location: Washington, DC

Profession:  President and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)

Fast facts: Once dubbed as one of the top three "Top Guns" of all trade association heads by Washingtonian Magazine, Ignagni has been a force in healthcare since taking over leadership of the now defunct American Association of Health Plans in 1993 (in 2003, the AAHP merged with the Health Insurance Association of America, becoming AHIP). Ignagni served as a director for the AFL-CIO's employee benefits department before taking over the AAHP, and before that worked on the U.S. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee and for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Why she's one to watch: Ignagni's been a fixture in DC circles for decades--and a leading figure in U.S. politics generally--but in an era of proposed major changes to the health insurance system, her role is particularly important. Her group has had a significant influence on critical health-plan debates and reform efforts over time (Remember Harry and Louise? That was AHIP), and will probably continue to do so even after a reform bill passes and the work of managing nitty-gritty insurance issues begins. Rest assured that as reform schemes are implemented, Ignagni will keep the pressure on.

Website: www.ahip.org