A former Greenberg Traurig shareholder’s star in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services continues to rise.
President Donald Trump announced yesterday that Eric Hargan will serve as HHS acting secretary, less than a week after the U.S. Senate confirmed him as deputy secretary, the agency’s Number 2 spot.
Hargan has held various roles in HHS under the George W. Bush administration and has extensive health care-related experience in Big Law, most recently at Greenberg Traurig. He reported about $250,000 in income from the firm since the beginning of 2016 through mid-February, recently released White House financial disclosure forms reveal.
According to Hargan’s ethics agreement, he resigned from his shareholder position at Greenberg Traurig upon his confirmation as deputy secretary last Wednesday. He resigned in January 2016 from a $15,000 teaching position at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, he stated in the agreement.
Hargan reported that his clients at Greenberg Traurig included Healthcare Billing Systems Inc.; National Hemophilia Foundation; TriHealth; United HealthCare Services Inc. and Virtus Pharmaceuticals, among others, health care-related and not.
Pursuant to federal regulations, Hargan has agreed to not participate, for one year after his resignation from the firm, in any matter involving Greenberg Traurig-represented clients or clients he personally represented unless HHS authorizes his participation.
He also agreed to not acquire any financial interest in entities or their subsidies largely regulated by the FDA, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, health insurance and food or beverage distribution.
Hargan declined during his confirmation hearing for deputy secretary before the Senate Finance Committee in June to say whether he would keep parts of the Affordable Care Act, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
“That’s a subject of a lot of dispute here on Capitol Hill,” he reportedly said.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. (Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
In addition, in response to a Democratic senator’s comment quoting a Republican senator as saying that parts of the law are working, Hargan reportedly replied that the health care landscape has changed and that “I am not particularly a policy person in this area,” according to the Tribune.
Hargan’s confirmation as deputy secretary passed 57-38, with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, voting against the nominee and urging his colleagues to do likewise, according to a report in The Hill.