Paul Offner, an expert on health care, died of cancer April 20, 2004, in Washington, D.C. He was 61.
Born in Vermont and raised in Italy, Paul went to Amherst. At Princeton, he earned an MPA from the Woodrow Wilson School and a PhD in economics. After public service in Wisconsin and Ohio, he worked in Washington as legislative aide for Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and then as DC commissioner of health care finance. Shortly after taking control of Medicaid for the city, Paul discovered that incompatible computer systems had failed to remove some 25,000 names from the welfare rolls, an error costing $34 million over a three-year period. Under his watch, from 1995-99, the program's spending increases slowed significantly.
Known as an "intellectual whirlwind," Paul wrote numerous journal articles as well as op-ed pieces on health care, welfare, and the inefficiencies of local government. In 1999, he became a research scholar at Georgetown University's Institute for Health Care Research and Policy and then moved to the Urban Institute, where he focused on the labor market for young minority men.
Paul is survived by his wife, Molly, and his daughter, Mary.