Squire Patton Boggs’ State Attorneys General Practice Group is comprised of lawyers who have served at senior levels in state AG offices around the country and whose practices focus, to one degree or another, on representing clients before these increasingly assertive and powerful, yet often overlooked, government agencies, as explained in detail here.
In these updates, we will call attention to the most noteworthy state AG news or developments emerging in the previous week.
New York AG Eric Schneiderman announced that he intends to sue if the “unconstitutional” Republican healthcare bill passed to replace the Affordable Care Act becomes law. In a press release, AG Schneiderman highlighted two critical areas that he considers unconstitutional. First, he stated the Republican attempt to limit a women’s access to reproductive healthcare services is an unconstitutional attack on a vulnerable population. Schneiderman also found issue with the Collins-Faso Amendment, stating that Congress does not have the authority to define how New York funds its Medicaid program.
Mississippi AG Jim Hood, with assistance of outside counsel, filed suit against multiple pharmaceutical companies alleging the companies initiated an “unlawful” and fraudulent scheme to force the state to purchase pharmaceuticals that were not included in the State’s Medicaid reimbursement program. Hood, on behalf of Mississippi, filed six suits contending that the companies purposefully marketed the drugs as being covered by the state’s Medicaid program, which resulted in large profit margins at Mississippi’s expense. In the complaint Hood explained, “the State directly relies on these representations in approving the reimbursement for providers of prescription drugs.” According to Forbes, the State is demanding a remedy for “all amounts paid for unapproved and ineligible prescription drugs by the state as a result of the defendants’ alleged fraud.” Defendants have until the end of May to respond to AG Hood’s complaints.
Oklahoma’s new AG Mike Hunter told News Channel 6 that his top priority will be keeping people safe, specifically by addressing the issues of drug addiction and overdoses. AG Hunter noted that nearly 3,000 Oklahomans died from addiction and overdose last year. To address this epidemic Hunter established the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse, which will study the causes and identify solutions. The Commission will run until December 2017 and make recommendations to state lawmakers in hopes of developing long-term solutions.
Under the leadership of Texas AG Ken Paxton, Texas and 15 other states filed an amicus brief with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of President Trump’s revised immigration order. The immigration order, which was blocked by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit, temporarily suspends immigration into the US for refugees from six countries. The brief highlights “the constitutional and federal statutory provisions that provide the authority for the president’s lawful actions, as delegated to him by Congress.” AG Paxton said that the President’s immigration order “is necessary to protect the homeland from those who wish us harm” and is a necessary step towards improving the country’s national refugee program.”