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Inspector Generals Corner

Walton Francis

is an economist and policy analyst, expert in the analysis and evaluation of public programs. He developed regulatory, budgetary, and legislative reforms for many policies and programs, while working at the Office of Management and Budget and in the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). At HHS he won awards for eliminating unnecessary burden from regulations and making regulation of health services more cost-effective. Decades ago he persuaded the Office of Management and Budget to adopt the $100 million threshold used ever since for identifying "major rules," in order to focus review on the most burdensome rules.  

He has written, and testified before Congress, on reforming the Federal Employees insurance program and on reforming Medicare. He recently co-authored "An Evaluation of Compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act by Federal Agencies." Other recent analyses include 2006 testimony on health care transparency before the Joint Economic Committee “The Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing.” He pioneered the systematic comparison of health insurance plans from a consumer perspective, and has for three decades authored the annual "CHECKBOOK’s Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees" (at 

He has recently served as a consultant to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on implementing, establishing regulatory standards for, and creating consumer information on, Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug plans established under the Medicare Modernization Act. His book "Putting Medicare Consumers in Charge: Lessons from the FEHBP." was published by the American Enterprise Institute in 2009 (available from

Walt’s education includes Master’s degrees from Yale and Harvard universities, in Political Science, Public Administration, and Public Policy. He can be reached at 703-278-0041, and