Biography 2018-02-20T15:48:32+00:00

I am a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, where I am affiliated with the Tax Policy Center and the Retirement Policy Program. I speak and write frequently on aging and caregiving, as well as on tax policy. I’m the author of Caring for Our Parents: Inspiring Stories of Families Seeking New Solutions to America’s Most Urgent Health Care Crisis, as well as two blogs—TaxVox and Caring for Our Parents. You can read them both on In 2016, I was a named one of the nation’s top 50 Influencers in Aging by Next Avenue.

What on earth do taxes and aging have in common? Well, they both have profound effects on our lives. No one wants to think about them but everyone should. And one other thing: They are complicated, and I love explaining complex issues in simple, understandable language.

I became interested in aging issues when my wife and I helped care for her dad and mine. It was the toughest thing I ever did, but also the most rewarding.

That lead me to Caring for Our Parents, a close-up, personal look at our nation’s dysfunctional system of delivering and paying for this care. It gave me the chance to tell this powerful story through the eyes of real families, as well as policy experts and health professionals.

What about taxes? I’m fascinated by what the government chooses to tax and what those choices mean for all of us. Just like long-term care, our tax system is an incredible mess. It is crazy, unpredictable, and full of political wheeling and dealing. It often leaves me shaking my head. But it is always interesting.

Before I joined the Urban Institute, I was a journalist. I was senior correspondent in the Washington bureau of Business Week, where I covered health and elder care, as well as tax and budget issues, for nearly 20 years. I was a 2003 National Magazine Award finalist for a story called The Coming Revolution in Health Care.

After Business Week, I was a Media Fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation and a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

I serve my community as chairman of the board of trustees at Suburban Hospital (Bethesda, MD), as a trustee of Johns Hopkins Medicine, and as a trustee of the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. I’m also on the board of The Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington.

I spend lots of time writing and speaking on both taxes and aging. I’ve written for many publications, including The Washington Post and USA Today.  I’m often interviewed by news organizations from CNBC to Fox, and speak frequently to professional and academic groups. But my favorite audiences are aging adults and their adult children.

I live in Kensington, Maryland with my wife, Ann Kline, who is a hospice chaplain.

*Read Howard’s Short Bio