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Cato Institute senior fellow, Michael Tanner heads research into a variety of domestic policies with a particular emphasis on health care reform, social welfare policy, and Social Security.

Most recently, Tanner co-edited Replacing Obamacare: The Cato Institute on Health Care Reform, a compilation of the Cato Institute’s work over the past several years on health care reform and Obamacare, with contributions by over a dozen national experts, including Tanner himself. He is also the author of numerous books on public policy, including Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution (2007, Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It (Second Edition, 2007), The Poverty of Welfare: Helping Others in Civil Society (2003), and A New Deal for Social Security (1998). Tanner’s writings have appeared in nearly every major American newspaper, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He writes a weekly column for National Review Online, and is a contributing columnist with the New York Post. A prolific writer and frequent guest lecturer, Tanner appears regularly on network and cable news programs.

Under Tanner’s direction, Cato launched the Project on Social Security Choice, which is widely considered the leading impetus for transforming the soon-to-be-bankrupt system into a private savings program. Time Magazine calls Tanner, “one of the architects of the private accounts movement,” and Congressional Quarterly named him one of the nation’s five most influential experts on Social Security. The New York Times refers to him as “a lucid writer and skilled polemicist.” Before joining Cato in 1993, Tanner served as director of research of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and as legislative director for the American Legislative Exchange Council.

More from Michael D. Tanner


Obamacare: Not as Bad as It Could Have Been, But Still Awful

National Review (Online). March 25, 2015.

Republicans Rethinking ‘Tough on Crime’

National Review (Online). March 18, 2015.

The Iowa Agricultural Panderfest

National Review (Online). March 11, 2015.

Cato Studies

War on Poverty Turns 50: Are We Winning Yet?

Policy Analysis No. 761. October 20, 2014.

Obamacare: What We Know Now

Policy Analysis No. 745. January 27, 2014.

SNAP Failure: The Food Stamp Program Needs Reform

Policy Analysis No. 738. October 16, 2013.

Public Filings

Cato Reviews & Journals


Can We End Poverty?

March 26, 2015. Conference.

The Economics of Medicaid and the Need for Reform

May 27, 2014. Capitol Hill Briefing.

The Kidney Sellers: A Journey of Discovery in Iran

March 26, 2014. Book Forum.

Downsizing the Federal Government