Enthoven, Alain

Enthoven, Alain

(1930–  ) economist, systems analyst, health care reformer; born in Seattle, Ore. Son of an English father and French mother, the family settled in Seattle. He majored in economics in Stanford and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, then took a Ph.D. in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1956). He worked with the Rand Corporation (1956–61) where he pioneered in the multidisciplinary approach to problems known as "systems analysis." He then joined the Defense Department and began what became the Office of Systems Analysis (1961–69); originally applied to defense problems, systems analysis soon was adopted by many branches of government. While also serving as a director of Georgetown University in the late 1960s, he became involved in creating the university's new health maintenance organization (HMO). Switching his focus from defense to health issues, he joined Litton Industries in California in 1969; by 1971 he was president of Litton Medical Products. In 1973 he joined Stanford's Graduate School of Business (1973); he also took on a consulting position with Kaiser-Permanente, the nation's largest HMO. At this time, too, he had begun to meet regularly with the so-called Jackson Hole Group, started by Dr. Paul Ellwood, a Minneapolis (Minn.) pediatric neurologist, who periodically assembled health care professionals at his condominium in Jackson Hole, Wyo., to discuss reforming America's medical delivery system. In the years that followed, Enthoven became acknowledged as one of the prime analysts of health care reform and in particular became a proponent of the approach known as "managed competition."