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James C. Capretta

Contributing Editor

James C. CaprettaJames C. Capretta is a New Atlantis contributing editor. He is also a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he holds the Milton Friedman Chair.

From January 2001 to May 2004, Mr. Capretta served as the Bush administration’s top budget official for health care, Social Security and pensions, education, and labor policy. He was the lead official in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for all aspects of Medicare and Medicaid reform policy development and implementation as well as for the development of the President’s other important domestic policy initiatives in education and labor.

After leaving government, Mr. Capretta was from June 2004 to August 2006 a Managing Director of Wexler and Walker Public Policy Associates, where he performed a wide range of consulting and advocacy services for clients.

From 2006 until 2016, he was a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. During this period, from 2008 to 2014, he was the author of the health care policy blog Diagnosis.

Prior to joining the White House in 2001, Mr. Capretta served for nearly a decade as a Senior Policy Analyst on the Republican Staff for the U.S. Senate Budget Committee under Senator Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), handling health care and Social Security issues, and as a professional staff member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health.

Mr. Capretta is also a Principal at Civic Enterprises, LLC, a public policy consulting firm, an Adjunct Fellow with the Global Aging Initiative of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and an Adjunct Fellow with the Hudson Institute. Mr. Capretta served as a Visiting Lecturer at the Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University in 2006 and was a Visiting Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution in 2005-2006.

Mr. Capretta began his career as a budget examiner at OMB from 1987 to 1990 after graduating with an M.A. in Public Policy Studies from Duke University. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1985, receiving a B.A. in Government. []

In The New Atlantis

Health Care with a Conscience

Number 22 ~ Fall 2008

Health Care 2008: A Political Primer

Number 20 ~ Spring 2008

The Clipboard of the Future

Number 19 ~ Winter 2008

What’s Ailing Health Care?

Number 16 ~ Spring 2007


  • “Improving Congressional Spending Habits,” Hudson Institute, April 30, 2007
  • “Commentary” on Canada’s public pension and old age security systems, in International Perspectives on Social Security Reform, ed. Rudolph G. Penner (Urban Institute, 2007)
  • “Where is the Responsibility?,” National Review Online, February 19, 2009

  • Other Publications

  • “The Budget Act at Forty: Time for Budget Process Reform,” Mercatus Research, March 2015
  • “The Demographics of Social Security: Why Entitlement Reform Needs a Fertility Boost,” The Family in Amerca, Winter 2011
  • “Beyond Repeal and Replace,” American Enterprise Institute, December 2010
  • “Why the Obama Health Plan Is Not Entitlement Reform,” The Galen Institute, July 2010
  • “How to Cover Pre-existing Conditions,” National Affairs, Summer 2010
  • “After Obamacare,” Weekly Standard, February 1, 2010
  • “Expect Senate Health Bill to Explode Federal Budget,” Omaha World-Herald, December 23, 2009
  • “He’s No Stupak: Ben Nelson Caves on Taxpayer Funding of Abortion ,” Weekly Standard, December 19, 2009
  • “From Awful to Worse,” Weekly Standard, December 21, 2009
  • “Debating Cost Control,” Kaiser Health News, December 3, 2009
  • “The Insurance Fix,” National Review, November 2, 2009
  • “The President Should Be Opposing the House Bill,” Kaiser Health News, November 5, 2009
  • “The New Middle Class Contract,” National Affairs, Fall 2009
  • “The Wrong Medicare Advantage Reform,” Heritage Foundation, October 30, 2009
  • “Prescription,” National Review, May 25, 2009
  • “Stop ObamaCare,” Weekly Standard, May 18, 2009
  • “100 Days Later,” National Review Online, April 29, 2009
  • “Medicare and the Reform of U.S. Health Care,” Health and Ageing Newsletter, April 2009
  • “Great Society II,” National Review, March 23, 2009
  • “Placing Health-Care Options in the Hands of Private Companies,” Pajamas Media, February 24, 2009
  • “Twelve Ideas for the Middle Class,” National Review, February 9, 2009
  • “Needed: more elderly workers,” Washington Times, January 22, 2009
  • “Medicare in the USA,” European Papers on the New Welfare, January 1, 2009
  • “A State-Based Initiative,” National Review Online, December 9, 2008
  • “Obama Money Talk,” National Review Online, November 25, 2008
  • “Healthcare with a Conscience,” First Things On the Square, November 18, 2008
  • “Doc Daschle,” National Review Online, November 20, 2008
  • “Respect for Life,” Washington Times, November 4, 2008
  • “Great Society Redux?,” National Review Online, October 22, 2008
  • “A Solvent Medicare,” Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2008
  • “The Dems’ Health-Care Distortions,” National Review Online, October 10, 2008
  • “Obama’s Glass House,” National Review Online, October 7, 2008
  • “Dr. Obama’s Prescription,” National Review, September 1, 2008
  • “Daschle’s Health Care Plan,” National Review Online, August 27, 2008
  • “Realistic Options for the Uninsured,” Washington Times, August 14, 2008
  • “Obama’s Tax on Work,” National Review Online, July 10, 2008
  • “The Train Wreck Ahead: Medicare is rolling toward disaster, and there is no easy way to fix it,” Weekly Standard, June 16, 2008
  • “Obama’s Bad Prescription,” National Review Online, May 28, 2008
  • “A Bush Success (not that he gets credit),” Weekly Standard, April 28, 2008
  • “It’s the Economy, Stupid,” Washington Times, April 22, 2008
  • “1994 Redux,” National Review Online, April 2, 2008
  • “The Swedish Solution,” Weekly Standard, March 17, 2008
  • “The Population Gap,” Washington Times, February 14, 2008
  • “Reforming Education,” Washington Times, January 17, 2008
  • “Health-Care Consensus?,” National Review Online, January 17, 2008
  • “Medicare for All?,” National Review Online, October 19, 2007
  • “Dr. Hillary Will See You Now,” National Review Online, September 18, 2007
  • “Getting Old,” National Review Online, September 13, 2007
  • “The Political Economy of State-Based Pensions: A Focus on Innovative Reforms,” European Papers on the New Welfare, July 30, 2007
  • “Trust-Fund Dysfunction,” National Review Online, July 27, 2007
  • “Effective Health Reform Starts With a Tax Fix,” Tax Notes, May 21, 2007
  • “Back to Balance?,” National Review Online, May 17, 2007
  • “Gunnar Myrdal Was Right,” Weekly Standard, May 7, 2007
  • “Global Aging and Innovative Public Pensions Reform,” Pensions International, May 2007
  • “To Be Continued,” Weekly Standard, February 26, 2007
  • “Just What the Doctor Ordered,” National Review Online, January 31, 2007
  • “Taxing Debate,” National Review Online, January 12, 2007
  • “Global Aging and the Sustainability of Public Pension Systems: A Report of the Aging Vulnerability Index Project,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, January 2007
  • “Budgeting for National Priorities: Restraining Federal Domestic Spending,” Brookings Institution, January, 2007
  • “The Health of the States,” Weekly Standard, December 9, 2006
  • “Now They Tell Us,” National Review Online, November 29, 2006
  • “U.S. Should Study Swedish and German Social Security Reforms,” Tax Notes, October 9, 2006
  • “Building Automatic Solvency into U.S. Social Security,” Brookings Institution Policy Brief #151, March 2006
  • “Articulating a Policy Framework for Long-Term Federal Entitlement Reform,” Brookings Institution working paper, July 1, 2005