Michael Astrue is the former Commissioner of Social Security (2007-2013). The Social Security Administration is an independent federal agency headquartered in suburban Baltimore with over 62,000 employees nationwide. As commissioner, Astrue reported directly to President Obama.
After working for the Boston law firm of Ropes & Gray, he served as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Legislation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Counselor to the Commissioner of Social Security, Associate Counsel to Presidents Reagan and Bush, and General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He successfully tried the first federal HIV discrimination enforcement case and successfully argued the first federal patient dumping enforcement case.
While General Counsel of HHS, he had a concurrent appointment on the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board during the period when the Board issued many of the first regulations under the Americans with Disability Act.
After a brief period as a partner of the Boston law firm of Mintz Levin, he worked for fourteen years in the biotechnology industry, most notably as General Counsel of Biogen and as the CEO brought in to lead the highly successful turnaround of TKT. He also taught biotechnology law and policy at Boston University and served as Chairman of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council.
Mr. Astrue has served as a member of the board of the Kenneth B. Schwartz Center, an organization whose mission is to support compassionate health care, as Vice Chair of the Massachusetts High Technology Council, and as a board member of a number of biotechnology companies. He has received numerous awards and honors, including the Public Health Leadership Award from the National Organization of Rare Disorders and the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Alzheimer’s Association.
Commissioner Astrue is an honors graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School.
Page last updated: January 27, 2015