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Tom Wharton is the founder and President of Inlet Strategies. Wharton has more than 20 years of policy and political experience, having served as a senior health care advisor in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. 


Wharton began his career in 2002 on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as a junior aide to then-Chairman Joe Biden (D-DE) and then-Democratic staff director (now Secretary of State) Antony Blinken. 

In 2005, Wharton joined the staff of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) under the leadership of Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-NY). In the 2006 election cycle, Senate Democrats won back the majority and elevated Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) to Majority Leader.

In 2008, Wharton returned to Capitol Hill on the legislative staff of Congressman Dan Boren (D-OK), an influential member of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition. The Blue Dog Coalition's political power was at an all-time-high during this period, with a record membership of more than 60 members. They played a central role in the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the Economic Recovery Act of 2009, as well as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Following his work in the U.S. House of Representatives, Wharton became the senior health care policy advisor to Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT). He led Senator Lieberman's work on all health care-related matters, including Medicare and Medicaid reform. Wharton also advised Senator Lieberman, then-Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, on his efforts to reform to the U.S. military's Tricare program, the U.S. Postal Service health insurance program, and the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program.

After Senator Lieberman announced his retirement in 2012, Wharton joined the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), whose health care plans insure more than 107 million Americans. During that time, Wharton was BCBSA's principal liaison to Senate Democrats and the majority staffs of the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Wharton spent more than five years working on behalf of BCBSA with Senate Democrats to launch and stand up the Affordable Care Act, as well as the federal and state-based exchanges.

Wharton went into private practice in 2017, where he has represented multiple Fortune 500 companies and health care trade associations, including Coherus BioSciences, VITAS Healthcare, DaVita, Novartis, Teva Pharmaceuticals, CVS Health, and the Generic Pharmaceutical Association. 

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