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Rodney L. Whitlock

ML Strategies - Vice President

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+1.202.434.7352

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With more than two decades of experience navigating health care policy in Washington, Rodney brings his skills in the policy, politics, and process of legislation and regulation to clients every day. A thought leader regularly called on by press and stakeholders for his insight, he specializes in the health care safety net, health care coverage, disability policy and rural health care. Rodney’s deep bipartisan, bicameral relationships are invaluable in serving clients as they endeavor to understand the chaos that is DC.

Rodney is a veteran health care policy professional with more than 20 years of experience working with the US Congress, where he served as health policy advisor and as Acting Health Policy Director for Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and, earlier, on the staff of former US Representative Charlie Norwood of Georgia.

During his years with Representative Norwood, Rodney managed the Patients’ Bill of Rights, which passed the House in 1999 and 2001. In February 2005, Rodney left the office of Congressman Norwood to join the Finance Committee Staff as a health policy advisor to Chairman Grassley. In that capacity, he was lead Senate Republican staffer for Medicaid legislation from 2005 to 2010, including the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, the CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2007 and 2009, and the Affordable Care Act of 2010. He continued to serve Senator Grassley through 2015 working on all health-related issues.

In 2007, Rodney worked on the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, which passed Congress twice and was subsequently vetoed twice by President George W. Bush. Rodney spent 2009 and 2010 deeply engaged in health care reform legislation. Late in 2010, he became the Acting Health Policy Director for Senator Grassley, and shepherded the Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010 into law. Following his tenure in Senator Grassley’s Congressional office, Rodney served as Health Policy Director in the Senator’s personal office.

Education

  • University of Georgia (PhD)
  • Appalachian State University (MA)
  • Roanoke College (BA)

Recent Insights

News & Press

Events

Viewpoints

Viewpoint
Congress has left town until after the midterm elections, but the Administration is continuing to advance its priorities in the regulatory arena. This week, the Administration is expected to publish the proposed rule, "Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Regulation to Require Drug Pricing Transparency." We cover this and the political implications in this week's health care preview.
Viewpoint
While the House is out on recess, the Senate continues to be in session. This week the Senate has some non-health care related hearings scheduled as well as nomination hearings. We are looking for signals for a deal to finish work and send vulnerable Senators home to campaign. However, while legislative action may begin to cool down, regulatory activity at OIRA could be heating up.
Viewpoint
On September 25, 2018, House and Senate negotiators agreed on a final legislative package to address the opioid crisis. Following this agreement, the House passed the opioid package on September 28, 2018. The Senate is expected to pass the package in the weeks ahead, and the President is expected to sign the package into law. ML Strategies has created a chart tracking the provision of the final opioid package.
Viewpoint
You might have missed it but Congress averted a government shutdown last week. While several appropriations bills passed on time for the first time in years, several agencies, including the FDA, were funded on a continuing resolution (CR). The CR provides funding until December 7th and will need to be addressed again by that time. However, the House is now in recess and won’t be back in town until after the midterm elections. So the lame duck session will have a few ‘must dos’ on the list.
Viewpoint
This week, Congress and the White House need to finalize a government spending bill in order to avoid a shutdown. While all signs point to a deal being reached, it is widely expected that several agencies will be operating on a continuing resolution for the first couple months of fiscal year 2019. While the Departments of Labor, HHS, and Education are expected to receive a full appropriation prior to September 30th, the FDA, which is funded through the Department of Agriculture, is expected to be funded through the continuing resolution, which will go through December 7th.
Viewpoint
This week, Congress is off and running with two emerging priorities to complete before members head off to campaign. With the midterms just 50 days away, the longer issues like opioids and appropriations remain unsolved the more likely they are to get punted until after the midterms.
Viewpoint
Congress continues to make progress towards funding the government despite having only seven business days remaining with both chambers in town prior to the September 30 deadline. 
Viewpoint
We have continually provided updates on the application and approvals of Medicaid 1115 waivers that include work requirements. One such approved waiver is the Arkansas Works Program. As we previously noted, Arkansas became the first state to implement work requirements for Medicaid eligibility.
Congress is back in session with several high-profile hearings and looming deadlines. The Senate will begin consideration of the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court and will begin its work with the House on conferencing a number of appropriations bills.
The opioid epidemic has driven significant legislation this session.  To help our readers track the pending opioid legislation, ML Strategies has created a chart to analyze various provisions of House and Senate bills and their overlap.

News & Press

Rodney Whitlock, a ML Strategies Vice President and veteran health care policy professional, provides commentary in this piece discussing a federal judges’ decision to block work requirements for Medicaid patients in Kentucky.
In this February 9th article, ML Strategies’ vice president Rodney Whitlock is quoted on the subject of the congressional repeal of a controversial component of the Affordable Care Act, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB. The IPAB was created initially to help control Medicare spending.
ML Strategies vice president Rodney Whitlock is quoted on the subject of the congressional repeal of the IPAB, a controversial component of the Affordable Care Act. The IPAB was created initially to help control Medicare spending, should it ever increase in a flyaway or uncontrolled fashion.
ML Strategies vice president and senior health law advisor Rodney Whitlock was quoted in MedPage Today’s recent article about the approaching budget deadline in Congress, specifically the impact that deadline is having on many existing healthcare funding issues.
ML Strategies’ Rodney Whitlock, Kate Josephson, and Katie Weider collaborated on an article in Health Affairs. The article covers the announced tax reform plan at the end of 2017, focusing in particular on the elimination of the medical expense tax reduction from the bill.

Grassley Pressing to Include Drug Pricing Measures in CHIP Reauthorization

October 3, 2017 | Morning Consult

ML Strategies’ Rodney Whitlock was quoted in a Morning Consult article covering Senator Chuck Grassley’s efforts to push GOP leaders to deal with high drug prices in a bill for renewing funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Rodney Whitlock, a ML Strategies’ Vice President and Senior Health Law advisor, was interviewed for this radio program discussing training health centers and where they may (or may not) fall on Congress’ priority list.
ML Strategies’ Rodney Whitlock was featured in this Law360 article as one of the industry experts consulted regarding the future of the Affordable Care Act and the likelihood of its repeal.
ML Strategies' Rodney Whitlock authored a Health Affairs Blog piece on the importance of Actuarial Value (AV). He discusses AV as it is defined in the Affordable Care Act, the tradeoffs that come with a high benchmark AV level, and the challenges of partisan health care reform.
This piece discusses the trimming of so-called essential health benefits from the Affordable Care Act, and what that loss means for people with pre-existing conditions.
Rodney Whitlock of ML Strategies is featured along with other industry sources in this article assessing the challenges facing Senate Republicans attempting to amend the GOP healthcare reform bill.
This article offers insight and opinions of various experts on the viability of House Obamacare replacement bill. The article further includes commentary from industry experts on the degree of change the bill will go through if it succeeds.
Rodney Whitlock provides commentary in this article discussing the latest in the plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The piece notes that among the key issues in the debate are both political and how one defines “health insurance.”
Rodney Whitlock, a vice president of ML Strategies in Washington, D.C., is among those quoted in this article discussing the large quantity of unfilled positions in President Trump’s administration, and the lengthy timespan it is taking to fill those positions. 
This article takes a look at what some health care industry experts are saying about concerns they have regarding the GOP Obamacare replacement bill which some say could cause the collapse of the health insurance market.
This article discusses the similarities of the GOP’s Obamacare replacement bill to the Affordable Care Act it is replacing. The piece highlights sections within the proposed bill that are staying, as well as those changing.
This article discusses details included in a draft health bill from the GOP. The plan includes cuts to federal payments to states that have expanded Medicaid and offers tax credits for people to buy health insurance.
In this article, ML Strategies Vice President Rodney Whitlock discusses the question of how to care for seniors and Americans with disabilities and the ramifications of waiting too long before the government steps in. 
Rodney Whitlock is quoted in this article addressing division within the Republican party in regards to two recent health care bills. Rodney is a veteran health policy advisor and a Vice President of ML Strategies.
Published in The New York Times in January 2017, this article addresses President Trump’s intentions to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and what his recent actions mean for the law.
Rodney Whitlock is quoted alongside other sources in this January 2017 Politico article relating thoughts concerning the impending courtesy hearing of Rep. Tom Price, President-elect Donald Trump’s selection to run Health and Human Services (HHS).
ML Strategies' Rodney Whitlock is quoted in this piece from Kaiser Health News regarding the question of whether or not the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation will survive if the ACA is repealed.
ML Strategies' Rodney Whitlock is quoted in a National Law Journal article covering Congress’s efforts to repeal the ACA without destabilizing the insurance market and health care industry in the process.  
Mintz's Theresa C. Carnegie and Rodney L. Whitlock are speaking at the Fifth Annual Pharmacy Benefit Oversight & Compliance Conference. The event brings together professionals from health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, pharmacies, and pharmaceutical manufacturers
ML Strategies Vice President Rodney Whitlock is quoted in this Forbes article highlighting the significance voting baby boomer women holds in the presidential election.
Rodney Whitlock, ML Strategies’ Vice President, authored this article on how “patients deserve a prescription drug marketplace that makes more of the costs transparent, encourages competition, and provides reliable information regarding value.”
Rodney Whitlock, a veteran health policy advisor and ML Strategies’ Vice President, is quoted in this Connectivity piece involving Congressional staffers’ responses to questions regarding how to build relationships between themselves and other individuals in business and politics.
Alex Hecht, ML Strategies Executive Vice President and Director of Operations; Eli Greenspan, ML Strategies Manager of Government of Relations; and Rodney Whitlock, ML Strategies Vice President, authored a Physician Solutions Magazine article discussing growing interest in telemedicine.

Events

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Mar
19
2017
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Feb
17
2017
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Jan
24
2017
Panelist
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Nov
30
2016
Speaker
Speaker
Nov
10
2016
Moderator
Panelist
Nov
1
2016

Decision 2016: Health Policy and the Next President

PENN Law Bioethics Society and the Office of Career Planning & Professionalism

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Oct
6
2016
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Sep
22
2016
Panelist
Sep
14
2016
Panelist
Moderator
Apr
1
2016

GWU Oxford-Style Debate

Washington, DC

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Mar
21
2016
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