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Biography of the Acting General Counsel

Mr. Thomas R. Barker is the Acting General Counsel of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  In that capacity, he oversees the 400 attorneys who comprise the legal staff of the HHS Office of General Counsel.

Prior to assuming his position, Mr. Barker served as Counselor for Health Policy to the Secretary of HHS.  In that role, he served as the principal legal and policy advisor to Secretary Michael Leavitt on matters within the jurisdiction of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS); the Indian Health Service (IHS); and the Health Resources and Services Agency (HRSA).  Most recently, Mr. Barker has provided counsel to the Secretary on all issues related to the implementation of Medicare’s new outpatient prescription drug benefit, the development of President Bush’s health care tax and access proposal, and the implementation of the Bush Administration’s health transparency initiative.

From December, 2003 through October, 2005, he served as Deputy General Counsel of HHS.  In that capacity, he oversaw the 60 attorneys in the CMS Division of the HHS general counsel’s office and was the chief attorney for CMS, the agency of the federal government responsible for administering the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  That position required Mr. Barker to be the lead attorney for legal review of all regulations issued by CMS as well as providing direction for the conduct of all litigation in the United States involving CMS.

From October, 2001 until December, 2003, Mr. Barker was Health Policy Counselor to the Administrator of CMS.  From 1992 – 2001, Mr. Barker was a health policy analyst and regulatory counsel for the Massachusetts Hospital Association. 

Mr. Barker is also an assistant professor of health law at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  He teaches courses in Medicare and Medicaid law; pharmaceutical law and policy; and introductory health law.

As a member of the Boston Bar Association and the American Health Lawyers Association, Mr. Barker is a frequent lecturer and author on health care legal matters.  He is a magna cum laude graduate of Suffolk University School of Law in Boston and received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in English and Political Science from Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida.

From 1981-1992, Mr. Barker served on Capitol Hill as a legislative aide to the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee and the ranking member of the House Committee on Ways and Means’ Subcommittee on Health.  He currently lives in Washington, D.C. and is a member of the Massachusetts bar.


Office of the General Counsel

Last Updated: 05/14/2008