Two health care policy experts with ties to congressional Democratic chairs influential on 340B matters have gone to work for the Biden White House.
Elizabeth Jurinka, most recently chief health adviser to Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), on Tuesday was named Special Assistant to the President and Senate Legislative Affairs Liaison. According to the White House announcement of her appointment, during the last session of Congress Jurinka “spearheaded negotiations with the committee Republicans” on drug pricing reform, resulting in Wyden and former Finance Chair Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) bipartisan drug pricing bill, S. 2543. Wyden and Grassley both have indicated strong interest in resurrecting their bipartisan bill in some form during this session of Congress.
Last Friday, the White House appointed Catherine Oakar as Special Assistant to the President for Community, Public Health, and Disparities. Oakar most recently served on the Biden-Harris Transition. Before that, she was a senior health care adviser at Waxman Strategies, the strategic communications and government relations firm founded by former House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). Before joining Waxman’s firm, Oakar served in the Obama White House as associate director of the first lady’s Let’s Move! Initiative and a senior advisor in the Office of National AIDS Policy. She also has held a senior public health policy position in the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.