It's as a colleague said, the end of an era. Robert Zirkelbach, the long-time chief flack at America's Health Insurance Plans, is heading to another titan of the industry, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America.
Zirkelbach was in charge of helping AHIP and its head, Karen Ignagni, navigate some of the most treacherous policy and political waters in recent history: the debate over the Affordable Care Act. AHIP worked hand-in-glove with the Obama administration to make sure insurers stayed on board, and Ignagni and her organization took some major licks. The place he's heading, PhRMA, also got criticized by those skeptical and opposed to Obamacare for doing much the same.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at AHIP working in the health insurance industry during a time of such tremendous change. I appreciate the many opportunities Karen and the rest of the organization have given me over the past seven and a half years," Zirkelbach said in a message to his contacts announcing his move.
Zirkelbach's last day at AHIP is April 23. He starts at PhRMA on May 5. AHIP Deputy Press Secretary Clare Krusing will take over Zirkelbach's duties for the meantime.
Correction: 4:04 p.m.
An earlier version of this post misspelled Karen Ignagni's name.