Team Trump

Conservative think-tankers in top Trump administration health care positions


Richard Mark Kirkner
Contributing Editor

ProPublica has identified key personnel in the Trump health policy apparatus.

Heritage Foundation

Nina Schaefer. Special assistant and senior counselor to former HHS Secretary Tom Price from January to December 2017. Returned to her post as senior research fellow for health policy at Heritage.

Roger Thomas Severino. Director of the Office for Civil Rights at HHS from March 2017 to the present. He had been director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society in the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity at Heritage.

Laura Clay Trueman. Special assistant and principal deputy director of the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs at HHS from January 2017 to the present. She was director of strategic operations (covering health policy, budget, tax, and entitlements) at Heritage from 2010 to 2015, when she went to work for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise as his senior policy adviser.

American Enterprise Institute

Scott Gottlieb. Commissioner of the FDA from May 2017 to the present. A physician who graduated from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, Gottlieb was a resident fellow at AEI before he joined the Trump administration. He served in the George W. Bush administration as FDA deputy commissioner and helped to implement the Medicare drug benefit while he was a senior adviser at CMS.

Andrew Wade Smith. Special assistant at HHS since June 2017. He was a research associate at AEI.

Stephen T. Parente. Awaiting Senate confirmation as assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at HHS. An adviser to John McCain’s presidential campaign, Parente is a professor at the University of Minnesota who specializes in health finance. He is an adjunct scholar at AEI.

Concerned Veterans for America

Darin Selnick. Adviser for veterans affairs, White House Domestic Policy Council from August 2017 to March 2018, and senior adviser to the secretary of Veterans Affairs from January 2017 to March 2018. From 2013 to 2017 he was senior veterans affairs adviser to Concerned Veterans for America.

Concerned Women for America

Anna Pilato. Special assistant and deputy assistant secretary for external affairs at HHS since January 2017. She served on Trump’s transition team and previously worked for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and headed the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at HHS during the George W. Bush administration. She’s received financial support from Concerned Women for America.

Conservative Reform Network

Patrick Theodore Brennan. Special assistant and assistant speech writer at HHS from April to December 2017. A former adviser at Conservative Reform Network, Brennan also worked on Marco Rubio’s futile presidential campaign.

Family Research Council

Shannon O’Chester Royce. Director of the Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at HHS since May 2017. Before joining the Trump administration, she was chief of staff and chief operating officer at the center, which describes its mission as advancing “faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview.”

Federalist Society

Paula Stannard. White House senior adviser and senior counsel to the HHS secretary from January 2017 to the present. She previously served as deputy general counsel at HHS from 2003 to 2009. She was an executive committee member at the Federalist Society, and also served as a trustee at the James Wilson Institute, an organization that advocates for the legal principles of America’s founding fathers.

Hudson Institute

Jeffrey Hagen Anderson. Director of the Office of Health Reform at HHS from March to August 2017. He was a senior fellow at Hudson. A speech writer for Mike Leavitt, George W. Bush’s last HHS secretary, he cofounded the 2017 Project, a policy group focusing on health care and tax reform that crafted ACA alternatives for Tom Price when he was a congressman from Georgia and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s short-lived presidential campaign.

Manhattan Institute

Paul I. Howard. Senior adviser to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb since December 2017. Served as senior fellow and director of health policy at the Manhattan Institute.

Mercatus Center, George Mason University

Brian C. Blasé. Special assistant to the president for health care policy, National Economic Council, since January 2017. Blasé was a senior research fellow focusing on health care policy at the Mercatus Center.

National Center for Policy Analysis

John Robertson Graham. HHS regional director for the Seattle area since April 2017. He was a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.

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