Senior healthcare adviser leaves Obama

Senior White House healthcare adviser Chris Jennings is departing the White House staff, an aide confirmed on Thursday.

ADVERTISEMENT
Jennings, who returned to the White House in July to assist with the launch of the federal health insurance marketplace, is a veteran Washington hand and served as former President Clinton's chief healthcare adviser. Before returning to the White House, Jennings ran a top health policy consulting business.

The White House aide familiar with Jennings's exit said it was due to "a recent healthcare scare and other serious family considerations." According to The Washington Post, which first reported his departure, Jennings had scaled back his activities in recent weeks due to his personal situation.

“It has been a great privilege to work with the President and his incredibly dedicated team on the Affordable Care Act," Jennings said in a statement provided by the White House.

"I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve. It has been an honor to help ensure that the promise of affordable, quality health care embodied in this historic law becomes the reality for all Americans. This is the cause of my professional life and I look forward to making continued contributions to that end."

White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said in a statement that Jennings would be "deeply missed."

“We are all focused on reducing health care costs and implementing the Affordable Care Act," McDonough said. "Nobody does so with more intellect, fortitude, and heart than Chris Jennings."

Still, White House officials looked to project optimism about the president's team, despite Jennings's departure. They noted that Phil Schiliro, the former White House director of legislative affairs, had returned to the White House to help coordinate between government agencies and members of Congress as the administration implements ObamaCare.

The administration "will continue to focus like a laser on reducing healthcare costs and implementing the Affordable Care Act," the aide said.