Perspectives on the 2018 HHS Drug Pricing Guidance

These are the speaker biographies for the Brazda Breakfast: Reporting on the Future of Health Care titled "Perspectives on 2018 HHS Drug Pricing guidance" held on May 15, 2018, in Washington D.C.

Lauren Aronson is the executive director of the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP). CSRxP is a broad-based coalition of leaders—physicians, nurses, hospitals, consumers, health plans, PBMs, pharmacists, and businesses—promoting bipartisan, market-based solutions to lower drug prices in America. She is also a principal at Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Aronson spent close to three years at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), where she directed the Office of Legislation and led the Agency’s interactions with Capitol Hill. Before joining CMS, Aronson served as a professional staff member for the House Ways and Means Committee, working on Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D payment policies. Ms. Aronson served in the White House under President Obama as the policy director in the Office of Health Reform. She was a key member of the Administration’s team working to enact the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature health care law. Earlier in her career, Ms. Aronson was health policy advisor to then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), a member of the House Democratic Leadership and Ways and Means Committee. She also worked as a policy analyst with Christopher Jennings at Jennings Policy Strategies.


Kristin Bass is the senior vice president of Policy and Federal Affairs at the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA). In this role, she leads PCMA’s strategic development of the industry’s legislative policies. Ms. Bass joined PCMA from the Senate Finance Committee staff, where she served as health policy advisor to Ranking Minority Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA), with responsibility for private plan options in Medicare and commercial insurance issues. Previously, she was the senior vice president for Policy at the Healthcare Leadership Council, where she led efforts on health IT, privacy, and quality improvement. Prior to that, she headed WellPoint, Inc.’s Federal Affairs office and before that, the federal lobbying team at the American Association of Health Plans (now AHIP). She earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Yale University.

Scott Gottlieb is the Commissioner of Food and Drugs for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dr. Gottlieb previously served as the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs and before that, as a senior advisor to the FDA Commissioner. He also worked on implementation of the Medicare drug benefit as a senior advisor to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, where he supported policy work on quality improvement and the agency’s coverage process, particularly as it related to new medical technologies. In 2013, Dr. Gottlieb was appointed by the Senate to serve on the Federal Health Information Technology Policy Committee, which advises the Department of Health and Human Services on health care information technology. Dr. Gottlieb was previously a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the New York University School of Medicine in Manhattan, where he also practiced medicine as a hospitalist physician. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, New York and is a graduate of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and of Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut, where he studied Economics.


Justine Handelman is senior vice president of the Office of Policy and Representation for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies. The BCBS System is the nation’s largest health insurer, covering one-in-three Americans. In overseeing BCBSA lobbying and policy development activities, Ms. Handelman represents BCBSA’s Washington office and BCBS companies with the Administration, Congress, government agencies and other national associations. This includes development of legislative and regulatory policy positions and legislative strategy on a wide range of issues, including health care reform, government programs, health care financing, tax legislation and health information technology. Ms. Handelman has more than 25 years of experience in providing strategic analysis, policy development and federal representation on legislative, regulatory and federal policy issues pertaining to public and private health care. During her tenure, she has developed key policy positions that were incorporated in legislation enacted by Congress on key health care issues, including Medicare Modernization Act, the Affordable Care Act, legislation to prevent opioid abuse and legislation to address mental health parity. Prior to joining BCBSA in 2001, Ms. Handelman was the director of the Health Care Practice Group in the Government Relations Division of SmithBucklin. In this capacity, she was responsible for the day-to-day government relations activities for several non-profit professional medical specialty societies and health care organizations. Prior to joining the SmithBucklin team, she served as a senior legislative associate of MARC Associates, Inc. Ms. Handelman received her bachelor’s degree in political science from the Catholic University of America.


Lori Reilly is executive vice president for Policy, Research and Membership at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Ms. Reilly heads PhRMA’s policy and research department in the development and implementation of legislative, regulatory and political strategies to successfully navigate the ever-changing federal health care landscape, working to advance policies that encourage medical progress and patient access to the fruits of pharmaceutical innovation. In her membership role, Ms. Reilly leads the association’s efforts to grow the depth and breadth of innovative pharmaceutical company membership and engagement. Ms. Reilly received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she graduated with Honors, and a J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law. She is a Member of the Virginia Bar and currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband and their four children.


Mary Ella Payne is the acting president and chief executive officer at the Alliance for Health Policy. Previously, Ms. Payne was senior vice president for Ascension, the nation’s largest not for profit health care system. Ms. Payne led Ascension’s systemwide advocacy strategy with special attention to persons living in poverty and the vulnerable. Prior to working for Ascension, Mary Ella was a health care advisor for a senior member of the Finance Committee for 10 years and helped craft the legislation creating the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Ms. Payne has a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Science in nursing with honors from the University of Louisville.