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Heritage Expert

Nina Owcharenko

  • Director, Center for Health Policy Studies and Preston A. Wells, Jr. Fellow
The Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity

As director of the Center for Health Policy Studies, Nina Owcharenko oversees The Heritage Foundation’s research and policy prescriptions on such issues as health care reform on the federal and state levels, Medicare and Medicaid, children’s health and prescription drugs.

Owcharenko (pronounced oh-CHAH-renko) is well known in Washington policy circles as a champion of patient choice and robust competition in America’s health insurance markets.

Owcharenko, Heritage’s director of health policy studies since 2010, also was named Preston A. Wells Jr. Fellow in Health Policy in April 2012. As deputy director in 2009, she coordinated the think tank’s related research and was the lead advocate of its stances as debate in Congress over health care reform heated up.

Owcharenko, who joined Heritage in 2001, has made the case for consumer-based health policy solutions as a guest expert on dozens of radio and television programs. Her research and analysis have been published in newspapers and periodicals around the country, as well as in such noted policy journals as Health Affairs. She has made presentations at national, state and professional conferences.

Owcharenko well knows the inner workings of Congress, having worked for nearly a decade as a Capitol Hill staffer. She served as legislative director to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) when he was a representative and to Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.). She began her Hill career on the staff of the late Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC).

The Preston Wells Jr. fellowship, made possible by the Florida-based Lillian S. Wells Foundation, recognizes Owcharenko’s leadership in opposition to what Americans now call “Obamacare” and in efforts to move America to patient-centered, market-based health care. Wells, an entrepreneur, served on Heritage’s Board of Trustees from 1994 until his death in 2003.

In 2008, Owcharenko won Heritage’s prestigious W. Glenn and Rita Ricardo Campbell Award in recognition of specialized but high-profile work on the uninsured and related issues, in particular the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Each year, the award goes to a policy expert who has made “an outstanding contribution to the analysis and promotion of a Free Society.”

Owcharenko received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1994. Originally from Charlotte, N.C., she currently resides in Washington, D.C., with her husband and son.

All Publications by Nina Owcharenko