GOP analyst starts new healthcare think tank

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a Republican policy analyst and former Congressional Budget Office (CBO) director has set up a new healthcare think tank called the Center for Health and Economy, according to a post on the Washington Post's WonkBlog.

Despite Holtz-Eakin's ties to the GOP, the article states he conceived the center as nonpartisan, and "is intended to help lawmakers, members of the media and the public assess ideas put forward by others." 

Acknowledging the continued push by Congressional Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Holtz-Eakin said he believes the GOP will eventually accept that both they and Democrats should instead focus on finding solutions for specific problems with the law. The think tank will, in theory, help guide legislators toward those solutions, according to the article.

"I think the Affordable Care Act is the beginning of health reform, not the end," Holtz-Eakin told the Post. "We're going to be talking about this for the foreseeable future, and it's important to inform that debate."

Holtz-Eakin conceded his objectivity may be in question, according to the Post. The center's website features an analysis that criticizes the ACA and questions the CBO's claim it reduces the deficit. While Holtz-Eakin calls it a "fair concern," he told the Post he faced similar scrutiny during his tenure at the CBO.

"You have to have the institution set up so it can be nonideological," he said. "And in the end, the quality of the work solves the problem."

Long-term, sustainable healthcare reform will require bipartisan cooperation, Holtz-Eakin said, and "that means it will include some things that are in the Affordable Care Act. I see no way around that."

Despite Holtz-Eakin's view of the situation, a December Gallup poll found that a majority favor either repealing or scaling back the ACA, and a record percentage of Americans believe it's not the government's responsibility to ensure all Americans have healthcare, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the post