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Rodney L. Whitlock

ML Strategies - Vice President

[email protected]

+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
On November 26, 2018 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule, Modernizing Part D and Medicare Advantage to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenses. This proposed rule is the Trump Administration’s latest action to curb prescription drug prices. The proposed rule outlines a number of provisions to for lowering drug prices and reducing out-of-pocket costs in the Part D program that build off the Administration’s Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs.
Viewpoint
On November 20, 2018, Virginia submitted an application to CMS for a Section 1115 demonstration program entitled Virginia COMPASS (Creating Opportunities for Medicaid Participants to Achieve Self-Sufficiency). The application comes after Virginia voted in June 2018 to expand its Medicaid program to cover newly eligible non-disabled, non-pregnant adults ages 19 to 64 with income up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), on the condition that the expansion include a work requirement and other measures. This waivers implements work requirements and other provisions linked to the state’s Medicaid expansion.
Viewpoint
This week, Congress is expected to pass a two-week extension to avoid a partial government shutdown.
Viewpoint
As we previously discussed, in October the Trump Administration issued guidance related to 1332 waivers. This guidance outlines how the Trump Administration interprets the ACA 1332 waiver guardrails. On November 29th, CMS built off that guidance and outlined four concepts that states can utilize in 1332 waivers. Below is a discussion of these concepts and their potential effects. 
Viewpoint
This week, Congress returns to Washington with 10 working days to prevent a partial government shutdown by December 7th. Reaching an agreement on funding is the highest priority of the Lame Duck, and it could prove contentious given some controversial issues lurking around the corner. Also this week, the Senate will continue to look at health care costs in its ongoing hearing series and, will consider several legislative items.
Viewpoint
This week, Congress is on recess for the Thanksgiving holiday. While we can expect action from Congress when they return as it relates to funding aspects of the government, this week our preview looks at the future of the Senate Finance Committee with its new Chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
Viewpoint
This week, Congress returns to Washington for its lame duck session with uncertain expectations for what gets done between now and the next funding deadline of December 7, 2018. There are a number of legislative items that passed one chamber and not the other, and watch to see which bills make it across the finish line.
Viewpoint
All eyes are on Tuesday and what the midterm elections mean broadly and in the health care space. The implications are far reaching, from the House to the Senate, and even the gubernatorial races. Read the full post for links to our weekly preview and coverage of the elections.
Viewpoint
With the midterms in sight, our lame duck preview takes a look ahead at what the balance of the year will look like in health care. There are several legislative items that must be completed before closing out the 115th Congress, but there are also issues that could receive attention and that stakeholders need to keep on their radar.
Viewpoint
The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) developments over the last decade has had profound implications for the health care industry. From IBM’s Watson to lesser known innovations that have flown under the radar, such as clinical decision software and predictive analytics, these changes have infiltrated the field’s daily functions. Congress generally views AI with trepidation and fascination. We expect Congress to keep the subject at arm’s length until provoked to action.

News & Press

ML Strategies Vice President Rodney Whitlock, a veteran health care policy advisor, is quoted in this article discussing the implications on prescription drug pricing as a result of Senator Chuck Grassley’s return to leading the Finance Committee.

This article discusses how the 2018 midterm elections have essentially protected the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) and what could come next for health care from both Congressional parties. ML Strategies Vice President Rodney Whitlock, a veteran health care policy professional, is among the industry sources quoted in the piece.
Following the 2018 midterm elections, this piece looks at how drug prices could be impacted under a Democratic-led House. Rodney Whitlock, a ML Strategies Vice President and veteran health care policy advisor, is quoted within the article providing commentary.
This article discusses the uphill battle that the current Trump administration is facing regarding its plans to make lower Medicare drug costs a reality. ML Strategies Vice President Rodney Whitlock, a veteran health care policy advisor, is among the sources quoted providing commentary in the piece.
Veteran health care policy professional Rodney Whitlock, a Washington, D.C.-based Vice President with ML Strategies, is among the industry sources quoted in this coverage discusses how the pre-existing conditions coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are shaping the 2018 midterm elections.
This article looks at varying proposals to replace and/or offer similar coverage to that of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). ML Strategies Vice President Rodney Whitlock, a veteran health care policy professional, is among the industry sources quoted in the piece.
This feature article focuses on a report commissioned by the National Association of Accountable Care Organizations (NAACOS) finding that accountable care organizations (ACOs) have saved Medicare money. Rodney Whitlock, a ML Strategies Vice President and a veteran health care policy advisor, is among the industry sources discussing the results of the report and what it could mean moving forward.
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

Panelist
Dec
5
2018

Caravan Health 2018 Accountable Care Symposium

Policy Panel - What's Changing in Health Care Policy After Midterms

Phoenix, AZ

Panelist
Nov
16
2018

Health Reform: From the Midterms to 2020

National Press Club; Washington, D.C.

Moderator
Nov
14
2018

Fall 2018 National Association of Medicaid Directors Conference

Medicaid & Health Care: Post-Midterm Elections

Washington Hilton; Washington, D.C.

Moderator
Panelist
Panelist
Panelist
Moderator
Panelist
Panelist
Mar
19
2017
Speaker
Panelist
Feb
17
2017
Speaker
Jan
24
2017
Panelist
Panelist
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

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

GWU Oxford-Style Debate

Washington, DC

Panelist
Mar
21
2016
Speaker