Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson delivered the Morning Keynote at the 2021 Inland Northwest State of Reform Health Policy Conference last Thursday, where he discussed critical health care issues facing the state and what he hopes to achieve as Attorney General.
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Ferguson specifically discussed his office’s involvement in the Purdue opioid lawsuit settlement, mask mandate enforcement, and anti-trust work in the health care industry.
“We’ve quadrupled the number of attorneys we have doing [anti-trust work]. The AG’s office had not historically been involved in reviewing potential mergers and acquisitions in the health care industry or any other industry, for that matter. [Our presence] was very small … I’m not a health care expert, and I’m not an anti-trust expert, but my job is to make sure that there’s a level playing field for consumers in our state.
…We started investigations where … consumers had very few options for certain health care needs … We had different outcomes [in many cases], but the outcome was the same in the sense of having to unwind some of those acquisitions and mergers so that we can have a competitive marketplace when it comes to the health care industry in those areas and others across the state.”
He also discussed how he has been striving to maintain a positive culture among his employees in the virtual workplace, and his response to Texas’s new and controversially strict abortion law.
“I personally, obviously support reproductive rights and choice for women in our state. My personal views are less important than the law that we have in Washington State, which says the same thing. And we defend and enforce that, and we take that responsibility seriously … You can be sure that we’ll be expressing our views about why it’s important to have choice for women, why there are many challenges with Texas’s law, why it violates Roe v. Wade, and why the Supreme Court should reverse it.”