The politics of health care may, for the moment, be mired in gridlock. But Republican policy analyst Douglas Holtz-Eakin thinks the time will come when his party will stop trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and Democrats will start trying to fix it.
When that day arrives, both sides will need help charting a path through the health policy wilderness. So Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, this week opened the virtual doors of a new think tank known as the Center for Health and Economy.
Unlike your average think tank, the center is not dedicated to developing its own policy prescriptions. Instead, it is intended to help lawmakers, members of the media and the public assess ideas put forward by others.
The center aims to be nonpartisan, and Holtz-Eakin has assembled an impressive board of academics, including Mark Pauly from the Wharton School of Business, known as the father of the individual mandate, and Princeton’s Uwe Reinhardt. But for now, at least, the center relies on a start-up grant from the American Action Forum, Holtz-Eakin’s very partisan employer.
So far, Democrats may have cause to question the center’s political leanings. Its Web site features a critical analysis of the ACA that challenges the CBO’s conclusion that the law will reduce federal budget deficits. But over time, Holtz-Eakin hopes it will gain a reputation for fair analyses of proposals from both parties, with a special focus on the impact on health premiums and efficiency of care.
The website for the new think tank, Center for Health and Economy (H&E), can be found here. And here is the full list of board members.
Here is more about Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who is also President of the American Action Forum (AAF), an organization that is often described as a conservative or "right of center" think tank.
Holtz-Eakin has lots of experience with think tanks. He was a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), and Director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies and the Paul A. Volcker Chair in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He has also been a Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and Heritage Foundation. He is currently on the Research Advisory Board of the Center for Economic Development (CED).
According to the latest University of Pennsylvania think tank survey, there are 6,603 think tanks in the world, including 1,823 in the US. Of those 1,893 US think tanks, 394 are in Washington, DC.