DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL
Date of Birth: Nov. 30, 1954
Education: B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Ph.D. in economics, Harvard University.
Career Path: Summers received his Ph.D. at Harvard and became the youngest tenured professor in the school’s history at age 28. He was a member of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers, chief economist at the World Bank and most prominently, Secretary of the U.S. Treasury under President Clinton. Summers was president of Harvard from 2001 to 2006.
Role in Health Care Reform, 1993-1994: None.
Why He's a Player Now: Summers is one of the most influential voices shaping President Obama’s economic agenda. He supports health reform--and is especially concerned about unnecessary spending and reining in costs.
Quote: "I have a feeling that if you look at what's happened with prescription drugs, with children's health insurance, with bipartisan support, that the notion of making health care less of a public responsibility doesn't feel like a direction that our country is likely to go in." (Reuters, Nov. 17, 2008)
"You know, economists debate, in the short run, in the medium run, in the long run, if you contain health care costs, does it show up as lower costs for employers or does it show up as higher wages for employees, and that's an interesting academic argument.
It seems to me the larger truth is that if we're able to start fixing the health care system, you're going to get some combination of more competitive businesses and middle income families with higher incomes, and both those things seem to me to be very desirable.
So I think the more serious you think our economic problems are, the greater is the extent to which we need to address the efficacy of the health care system." (Remarks to the Economic Club of Washington, April 9, 2009)
Read about the other 'Players'.