Skip to main content

Rodney L. Whitlock

Vice President

RLWhitlock@mlstrategies.com

+1.202.434.7352

Follow:
Share:

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)

Case Studies

Case Study Hero Americas Essential Hospitals Mintz Case Study
ML Strategies has helped multiple health clients respond to House and Senate committee letters, prepare to testify on significant issues affecting their organizations and the broader community, and coordinate with relevant stakeholders for support.
Case Study Hero Karl-Storz Mintz Case Study
On behalf of Karl Storz Endoscopy, ML Strategies has advocated for uniform federal regulation to protect patient safety before the FDA and with members of Congress — and defeated the digital right to repair from being implemented in Massachusetts.
Case Study Hero ACAP Mintz Case Study
ML Strategies helped the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP), and other clients representing hundreds of organizations working in the delivery of health care for vulnerable populations, monitor and develop messaging to defeat legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Recent Insights

News & Press

Viewpoints

Congress and the Administration are staring down the prospect of another government shutdown, with talks breaking down over the weekend on a border funding deal. Democrats in the House continue to aggressively pursue drug pricing legislation, and are also touting reforms to the ACA to counteract actions taken by the Administration.
This week, we explore the Administration's proposed rule related to AKS safe harbors and what it means for the drug pricing debate. On Capitol Hill, Democrats in both chambers are beginning to examine behaviors by various companies in an effort to drive home the need for additional oversight. It's clear that drug pricing is going to be a hot topic for this Congress. What's unclear is whether both sides can find consensus in proposals that lower drug costs
The shutdown fight is over for now and Congress is ready to get the work of the 116th Congress underway. This week, there will be four relevant hearings to health care stakeholders, two of which will center around prescription drug pricing. The other two will look at pre-existing conditions and community health center related policies. On the regulatory side, we wait and see if the Administration will be putting forth any regulations in this space, in particular the discount safe harbor rule.

Arizona 1115 Medicaid Waiver Update

January 22, 2019| Blog

In 2014, Arizona expanded Medicaid to the new adult group. Following the expansion, Arizona submitted, and CMS approved, an 1115 waiver extension to create the Choice, Accountability, Responsibility, Engagement (CARE) program.
While Congress is still mired in a partial government shutdown, the Administration is continuing to put out relevant health care regulations and approving new Medicaid work requirements.

The Buzz About Block Grants

January 16, 2019| Blog

With the recent scoop from Politico that the Trump Administration is considering giving states the ability to implement Medicaid block grants, there has been considerable speculation on what the Administration is planning. Although we don’t know exactly what the Administration has in mind, there increasing skepticism on the legality of this move. So we are laying out the fundamentals and past history as we await the final guidance.
While Congress and the Administration are dug in entering the third week of a partial government shutdown, both branches of government are looking to shape other policy areas in 2019. The Administration is reportedly looking at reforming the Medicaid program and Congress is ramping up its oversight of prescription drug prices.

We cover this and what it will mean for this Congress in this week's preview.
The partial government shutdown is on its 17th day with no end in sight. In this week's preview, we discuss how reaching a solution is challenging for both sides and implications for legislating going forward. We also cover some of the latest polling on health care issues, which may offer a preview into messaging in this space over the next two years.
This week, Congress is in session for what should be the last week of the 115th Congress. However, the spending fight that has been raging since the last continuing resolution is no closer to being wrapped up than it was a month ago. Additionally, we watch to see if the IMPROVE Act can be finalized this week.
On Friday, December 14th, Judge O’Connor, a Texas Federal District Court Judge, ruled on the case Texas vs. Azar. As background, Texas vs. Azar was filed by 20 Republican state attorneys general and governors. The plaintiffs challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and argue that since the individual mandate has been repealed, or more technically zeroed out, the rest of the ACA must be struck down. They argue that the individual mandate cannot be severed from the ACA given its key structural role in the law. The Department of Justice agreed with some, but not all parts, of this argument, and sixteen states and DC are defending the ACA.

News & Press

This article previews what may be said of health care in the 2019 State of the Union address. ML Strategies Vice President Rodney Whitlock, a veteran health care policy advisor in Washington, provides commentary in the piece.

Health care industry insiders notes that the actions that Congress decides to take on health care in 2019 will largely be for show. Veteran health care policy advisor Rodney Whitlock, a Vice President with ML Strategies, is among those sources providing commentary in the piece.

This feature article discusses the potential constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how we could not know the final verdict for years to come. ML Strategies Vice President Rodney Whitlock, a veteran health care policy advisor in Washington, provides commentary in the piece.

Why Republicans (secretly) want the ACA to survive

December 19, 2018 | Washington Post

This Washington Post article discusses how a recent Texas judge’s decision finding the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional could impact Republicans in the House and Senate in the next Congress, as well as throughout the next election cycle. ML Strategies Vice President Rodney Whitlock, a veteran health care policy advisor, is quoted in the piece.
This feature article looks at a recent federal court decision striking down the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The piece notes that while the decision will not immediately effect the ACA's implementation, there could be significant consequences down the road if the decision is ultimately upheld. ML Strategies Vice President Rodney Whitlock, a veteran health care policy advisor, is quoted in the piece.
As health care costs continue to rise, this article looks at efforts being taken at the state and local levels targeting factors like housing, transportation, food and other nonmedical services as ways to overall improve the population's health while keeping medical costs down. ML Strategies Vice President Rodney Whitlock, a veteran health care policy advisor, is quoted in this article
This feature article notes that the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains uncertain for now in spite of the fact that a Texas District Court recently found that it is unconstitutional. Veteran health care policy advisor and ML Strategies Vice President Rodney Whitlock is among the industry sources quoted.
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.
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.

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