Updated at 5:46 p.m.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld last week disclosed to Congress that it is lobbying for the Mountain View, Calif.-based company behind the first online sale of a health insurance policy in the United States.
The firm is representing eHealth Inc. on a "[d]elay in obtaining [a] business license from [the] Chinese Government" and "denial of market access in China," according to a lobbying registration report. The company has operated in China as eHealth China (Xiamen) Technology Co. Ltd. since 2003.
Akin partners Stephen Kho and Brian Pomper, as well as firm associate Natalya Dobrowolsky, are handling the account. All of them count international trade among their specialties. Before joining Akin, Kho served as associate general counsel and acting chief counsel on China enforcement at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Brian Mast, a spokesman for eHealth, wrote in an e-mail that the company hired Akin to help it with "international trade issues with regards to our business in China." But he declined to elaborate.
Pomper referred questions on Akin's lobbying for eHealth to Kho, who couldn't immediately be reached.
The Internet company has spent at least $385,000 on federal government advocacy work done this year by one of its employees and outside lobbyists, according to congressional records. Lanny Davis of Lanny J. Davis & Associates and Wiley Rein partner Jim Slattery, as well as John Desser, eHealth’s vice president of public policy and government affairs, have reported lobbying on matters concerning the implementation of President Obama's health care law.