Avik Roy

Special guest

Public policy is Avik Roy’s fourth career, but clearly his favorite one.

Avik was born to Indian immigrants in Rochester, Michigan, a place that instilled in him a lifelong fondness for the Michigan Wolverines and the Detroit Red Wings. He finished high school in San Antonio, Texas, where USA Today named him to its All-USA High School Academic First Team, honoring the top 20 seniors in the country.

After training as a scientist at MIT and as a physician at Yale Medical School, Avik moved to Boston to join a then-unknown investment firm called Bain Capital, where he focused on identifying biotechnology companies developing therapies for diseases that had heretofore gone untreated.

In 2009, as President Obama’s health reform bill was being debated in Congress, Avik started a blog about health care policy. “I couldn’t find anything to read that I agreed with, so I started writing it myself.” Avik’s blog, The Apothecary, was soon picked up by Reihan Salam at National Review, and Matt Herper at Forbes. In 2012, Avik joined Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign as a health care policy advisor. By 2014, Avik was Forbes’ Opinion Editor, and Meet the Press’ Chuck Todd was calling Avik “the go-to policy wonk critic of the health care law…the guru.”

But Avik wasn’t content merely to criticize the Affordable Care Act. He’s a passionate believer in the conservative case for universal coverage: the idea that markets and competition can bring quality health care to every American. His health reform plan, a second edition of Transcending Obamacare: A Patient-Centered Plan for Near-Universal Coverage and Permanent Fiscal Solvency, is FREOPP’s first official publication.

In 2015, Avik and his then-fiancée, Sarah, moved to Austin, where he ran the foreign and domestic policy shops for Texas Governor Rick Perry’s presidential campaign. In that capacity, Avik was also the lead author of Gov. Perry’s major policy speeches. The Wall Street Journal called Perry’s address on intergenerational black poverty “the speech of the campaign so far.” Later in the primaries, Avik advised Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

2016’s political outcomes convinced Avik that the same-old, same-old wasn’t working. “Both parties are failing to work for people who are struggling in the twenty-first century economy,” says Avik, FREOPP’s President. “That’s why FREOPP focuses exclusively on research that moves the needle for people with below-median incomes or net worth.”

In a November 2016 profile in The Atlantic, Avik spoke passionately about America’s unique tradition of diversity and liberty. “A son of…immigrants who gets into Harvard [represents] the best of America,” he said. “That’s what America is.”

Can a new think tank really make a difference on the most difficult issues facing America? “The history of think tanks says we can,” Avik says. “The quality of our team says we can. Keep checking up on us and we’ll all find out together.”

Avik and Sarah still live in Austin, where they have added two new members to their family, a boy and a girl.

Avik Roy has been a guest on 1 episode.