President Trump has appointed Tomas Philipson interim president of his council of economic advisers. Philipson, who is already a board member, is a professor at the University of Chicago specializing in health care economics.
Previously, he was one of the best economists of the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Philipson succeeds Kevin Hassett, an economist at the White House, who left his post announced on Twitter last month.
"I want to thank Kevin for everything he's done," tweeted Trump. "It's a real friend!"
"I'm getting along very well with the president," Hassett said in an interview. He pointed out that the two-year term is typical for CEA leaders, many of whom come to the White House with a loan from the university.
"One of the reasons that ACE has remained an objective resource for all these years is that presidents have tended to replace themselves after a few years, which is not really enough time to become native, "Hassett said. "If you stay here too long, you may be too fond of all the political types of the West Wing and it may be a little harder to tell them the hard truths."
Hassett, a sunny optimist who co-wrote the book Dow 36,000 At the height of the Internet bubble, did not feel the need to say a lot of hard truths. While many forecasters predict a slowdown in the US economy this year, Hassett continues to forecast economic growth of at least 3%.
His colleagues describe Philipson as a leading economist and solution maker.
"Tom is a very innovative thinker," said Mark McClellan, a veteran of the George W. Bush administration who recruited Philipson to work for him, first at the FDA and then at CMS. "Tom had great experience in health economics and wanted to do a very relevant job for politics, so it was a win-win situation."
Although Philipson grew up in Sweden, where the government accounts for the vast majority of healthcare costs, he insists on market-oriented reforms and consumer choice.
"Coming from the University of Chicago, it's probably not surprising that as an economist, he envisions an important role for consumers in improving the functioning of the markets." "said Mr. McClellan. "But I want to emphasize that he has a good understanding of government institutions and the role of regulation."
At the FDA, McClellan said, Philipson helped set up a system in which drug manufacturers and medical device manufacturers pay higher fees to facilitate approval faster. At CMS, he worked on Medicare Advantage, a program that allows about one-third of Medicare beneficiaries to get their benefits through private insurers.