John Rother is the long-time Policy and Advocacy Director at AARP. In this role, he is a leading voice on the challenges posed by an aging population in health and long-term care, Social Security, pensions, workforce issues, and generational solidarity. He is responsible for formulating AARP’s policies that guide advocacy both nationally and in the states.
“John has dedicated his career to strengthening and improving Medicare and Social Security. John was a personal friend of Bob Ball’s, so he carries the legacy based on a shared commitment. His numerous public presentations and work with the media have helped to raise public awareness about the important role of social insurance programs in the lives of elderly and disabled Americans,” said NASI member Tricia Neuman, Vice President and Director of the Medicare Policy Project at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
Rother is active in many coalitions and organizations. He currently serves as Chair for the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations and as Vice Chair for the National Quality Forum. He is also a Board Member of the Alliance for Health Reform, the National Coalition for Health Care, the American Board of Internal Medicine, the eHealth Initiative, and the Pension Rights Center. For the past eleven years, he was Chair of Generations United. Rother has also served on advisory boards for the Department of Labor, the Department of Health & Human Services, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Institute of Medicine, the MacArthur Foundation and the Commonwealth Fund.  
Before coming to AARP in 1984, Rother served as Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging under Chairman John Heinz (R-PA) and Special Counsel for Labor and Health to the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee under Senator Jacob Javits (R-NY). He is an honors graduate of Oberlin College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Rother has spoken and written extensively on social insurance issues and has presented or taught in most major American universities. Rother is also a frequent media commentator and has appeared on all the major network news shows. He has helped to promote understanding of the U.S. social insurance system through numerous presentations to audiences in Europe and Japan.
He is a founding member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and has been actively involved with NASI’s leadership development initiatives. Each summer, Rother leads a lively discussion seminar with young social insurance leaders participating in NASI’s four internship programs. His seminar allows students to gain a better understanding of the policies and politics behind Social Security, Medicare, health care, and long-term care. Rother has also spoken at NASI conferences and policy education seminars about older workers, aging, and key issues surrounding the retirement of the baby boomer generation.
Rother is married to Christine Williams, former top health aide to Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME). Together, they often visited Bob and Doris Ball during New England summer vacations at Bob’s island house in Lake Winnipesaukee, although Rother’s tennis skills were never quite sufficient to best Bob at badminton. Rother continues to travel extensively, read history, take his grandson to sporting events, and dance whenever possible. He and Chris see every movie nominated for an Academy Award before Oscar night, and they enjoy most summer weekends with friends at their beach house in Bethany Beach, Delaware.
Rother will receive the 2010 Robert M. Ball Award at a reception on June 22, 2010 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Click here for details about the event or contact the NASI office at (202) 452-8097.

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