Theo Merkel

Private Health Reform Initiative

Theo Merkel is the Director of the Private Health Reform Initiative and a Senior Research Fellow for the Paragon Health Institute and a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Previously, Theo served as Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the National Economic Council in the White House (2019-2020). In addition to his work in the executive branch, Theo worked for his home state Senator Pat Toomey for a decade, most recently as Legislative Director.

During his time in the White House, Theo had a wide-ranging portfolio that included Medicare, Medicaid, the commercial market, and drug pricing reform. He oversaw the development and implementation of several key presidential initiatives to improve competition, efficiency, and access in health care including Executive Order 13877, Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Healthcare to Put Patients First.

While on staff in Congress, Theo served in a variety of roles for Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. This included directing policy and research on the then-most-expensive Congressional campaign in history, advising on health care and entitlement reform, and overseeing his legislative agenda in 2021 and 2022.

A native of Carbon County, Pennsylvania, Theo received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and currently resides in Washington, DC.