Nina Owcharenko Schaefer

Nina Owcharenko Schaefer

Director, Center for Health and Welfare Policy

Areas of Expertise

  • Health Care Reform
  • Medicaid
  • Public Health

Nina Owcharenko Schaefer is well known as a champion of patient choice and robust competition in America’s health insurance markets.

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Nina Owcharenko Schaefer is Director of the Center for Health and Welfare Policy at The Heritage Foundation. Prior to taking the reins as Director of the new Center, she was a Senior Research Fellow at Heritage and a nationally recognized expert in health care policy. 

In 2016, Owcharenko Schaefer was appointed by President-elect Trump to serve as a member of the Health and Human Services Landing Team. She continued as a member of the HHS Beachhead Team after Inauguration and was later tapped to serve as a Senior Counselor to HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, where in that role she managed and coordinated the agency’s opioid response.

Owcharenko Schaefer first joined Heritage in 2001 as a Senior Policy Analyst. Her research on reforming the State Children’s Health Insurance Program during that time earned her The Heritage Foundation’s prestigious Drs. W. Glenn and Rita Ricardo Campbell Award in recognition of outstanding contribution to the analysis and promotion of a free society. She went on to serve as Deputy Director of the Center for Health Policy Studies and later Director. In addition, she was named the first Preston A. Wells, Jr. Fellow in health policy.

She is a seasoned veteran and a long-time champion for patient-centered health care. Her research and writing focus on a range of health policy issues, including Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, private health insurance markets, and Medicare. She has presented at national and state conferences, appeared on television and radio, and her commentary and insights have been published across the country. She was named one of Washington D.C.’s 500 Most Influential People for her work in health care by Washingtonian Magazine.

Before coming to Heritage, she served for nearly a decade on Capitol Hill, serving as Legislative Director for Representative Jim DeMint and Representative Sue Myrick. She began her career in Washington in the office of Senator Jesse Helms. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina with a degree in political science.