Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: Enthoven, Alain C.
from Encyclopedia of Health Services Research

Alain C. Enthoven is a leading figure in the field of health economics and is regarded as the father of managed competition. He was also a cofounder of the Jackson Hole Group in Teton Village, Wyoming, a healthcare reform policy think tank, which was composed of medical, public policy, and business leaders committed to improving the nation's healthcare system. Enthoven is currently the Marriner S. Eccles Professor of Public and Private Management, emeritus, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a core faculty at the Center for Health Policy/Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research at Stanford.

Enthoven was born in 1930 in Seattle, Washington. He received his bachelor's degree from Stanford University in 1952, his master's degree from Oxford University in 1954, and a doctorate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1956—all in economics. From 1956 to 1960, Enthoven worked as an economist at the RAND Corporation. Following this, he worked at the U.S. Department of Defense, which ultimately culminated in his appointment by President Lyndon B. Johnson as assistant secretary of defense for systems analysis in 1965. In 1969, Enthoven entered the corporate world, taking a position as vice president of economic planning for Litton Industries, and in 1971 he became the president of Litton Medical Products. In this position, he began his work in health economics. In 1973, Enthoven became a professor at Stanford University, where he currently remains.

During his distinguished career, Enthoven has received numerous awards, appointments, and recognitions for his accomplishments in the field of economics. President John F. Kennedy presented Enthoven with the President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service in 1963. Enthoven also received the Baxter Health Services Research Prize from the Association for University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) in 1994 for his work on managed competition. In the same year, he was awarded the Clifton J. Latiolais Honor Medical from the American Managed Care Pharmacy Association. Enthoven also received the Board of Directors Award from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) as well as the Paul Ellwood Award for Efforts in Health Care Accountability from the Foundation for Accountability (FACCT).

Enthoven was a Rock Carling Fellow with the Nuffield Trust of London from 1998 to 1999 and is a former Rhodes Scholar. He is also an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine (IOM), and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Throughout his career, Enthoven has been deeply involved with healthcare policy at both the state and federal levels. In 1977, while serving as a consultant to President Jimmy Carter, he proposed a plan for universal health insurance, called Consumer Choice Health Plan, the basis of which was managed competition. He also has served as Chairman of the Health Benefits Advisory Council for the California Public Employees Retirement System and was appointed Chairman of the California Managed Care Health Improvement Task Force, which was charged with the responsibility of studying healthcare issues created by managed care.

Enthoven has published widely on issues related to the economics, management, and public policy of healthcare, both in the United States and in the United Kingdom. The major focus of Enthoven's research has been to examine the root causes of the rapid escalation in healthcare costs and national health expenditures and to investigate strategies to mitigate these increases while improving the quality of care. He is currently developing a proposal for a market-based universal health insurance system.

See also

Cost of Healthcare, Ellwood, Paul M., Healthcare Reform, Health Economics, Health Insurance, Managed Care, National Health Insurance, Public Policy

Web Sites

Stanford Center for Health Policy, Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research, Faculty Profile: http://healthpolicy.stanford.edu/people/alaincenthoven

Further Readings
  • Enthoven, Alain C. “The History and Principles of Managed Competition,” Health Affairs 12 ((Suppl. 1)) : 24-48, 1993.
  • Enthoven, Alain C. “Market Forces and Efficient Health Care Systems,” Health Affairs 23 ((2)) : 25-27, 2004.
  • Enthoven, Alain C.; Fuchs, Victor R. “Employment-Based Health Insurance: Past, Present, and Future,” Health Affairs 25 ((6)) : 1538-47, 2006.
  • Enthoven, Alain C.; Kronick, Richard “A Consumer-Choice Health Plan for the 1990s: Universal Health Insurance in a System Designed to Promote Quality and Economy: Part 1,” New England Journal of Medicine 320 ((1)) : 29-37, 1989.
  • Enthoven, Alain C.; Kronick, Richard “A Consumer-Choice Health Plan for the 1990s: Universal Health Insurance in a System Designed to Promote Quality and Economy: Part 2,” New England Journal of Medicine 320 ((2)) : 94-101, 1989.
  • Enthoven, Alain C., and Tollen, Laura A., eds. Toward a 21st Century Health System: The Contributions and Promise of Prepaid Group Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass2004.
  • Howell, Alyssa
    Copyright © 2009 by SAGE Publications, Inc.

    Related Articles


    Full text Article Rosenbaum, Sara
    Encyclopedia of Health Services Research

    Sara Rosenbaum is a leading health policy expert whose professional accomplishments have transformed the lives of ordinary Americans by...

    Full text Article Health Insurance in Historical Perspective, II: The Rise of Market-Oriented Health Policy and Healthcare
    Encyclopedia of Health Economics

    Abstract This article explores the intellectual history of market-based health policy in America. It opens by characterizing the two broad forms tha

    Full text Article United States
    Encyclopedia of Health Communication

    The United States is a large, complex country with a complicated and problematic health care system. Despite its standing as a leading international

    See more from Credo