Despite a flurry of litigation against President Donald Trump — and against each other — state attorneys general still find themselves with a set of common problems to tackle on a bipartisan basis. They include:
Opioids: The opioid epidemic is a top concern of AGs across the country, from Massachusetts to Mississippi, and knows no partisan boundaries. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine sued five drug manufacturers in May, alleging that the companies fraudulently marketed their prescription opioid products. In June, a bipartisan group of AGs announced a major investigation into manufacturers. It’s unclear exactly how many states are involved, as more have come forward since the initial announcement, but the group includes Maura Healey of Massachusetts and Ken Paxton of Texas, two AGs that are often on opposite sides of political issues. Later that month, Oklahoma became the fourth state to sue drugmakers for deceptive marketing this year.
Telecom: AGs do agree on this: they should be allowed to bring lawsuits on behalf of their states. But the telecom industry opposes such lawsuits, including one brought in February by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, which accuses Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications of deceptive advertising when it comes to internet speeds. Industry groups asked the Federal Communications Commission to institute national rules about false advertising with respect to internet speeds, which AGs say would gut the current method in which each state sets its own standards. In June, a bipartisan group of 35 attorneys generals from New York, Kansas, Louisiana, Illinois and other states sent a comment letter to the FCC urging the agency to reject the industry groups’ proposal.
Medicaid: Though states may have partisan disagreements over who should qualify for Medicaid, they’re all committed to preventing fraud in the program. States have their own Medicaid Fraud Control Units, usually within the attorney general’s office. These units investigate and work to root out fraud and patient abuse in health care facilities funded through Medicaid. In May, 37 state AGs signed onto a National Association of Attorneys General letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, requesting a change in policy at the federal level. The AGs want the fraud control units to have greater access to federal funds to investigate patient abuse and neglect, and say the federal rules “arbitrarily restrict” their investigative abilities.