AG Rutledge discusses PBM legal victory, reasons for challenging Presidential election

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 1,801 views 

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, R-Ark., had a busy week centered around rulings involving the U.S. Supreme Court.

Arkansas’ top legal officer won a landmark lawsuit before the high court involving the pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) industry, but by week’s end, the Supreme Court dashed the hopes of a Texas lawsuit aimed at overturning the election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Rutledge joined a Missouri brief to intervene in the Texas case arguing that Arkansas voters’ ballots would be “diluted” if the results weren’t overturned.

“I think it’s important that we protect the integrity of our elections,” Rutledge said in a Talk Business & Politics interview. “We want to make sure that Arkansans six electoral votes are not diluted, again, because of the practices of these other States.”

Rutledge contends the four states, which all went for President-elect Joe Biden, changed their election laws during the pandemic to accommodate voters. She argued the changes may not have occurred through proper legislative channels. However, other states, such as Texas, Arkansas, Ohio and North Carolina also modified election procedures in an effort to protect voters during the health crisis. Those four states all voted for President Donald Trump.

Rutledge said she didn’t have an issue with their modifications because those states voted like Arkansas did – for Trump.

“I think philosophically, those states are not necessarily diluting the vote of Arkansans. Arkansans voted overwhelmingly for Donald J. Trump. And so if another state voted overwhelmingly for Donald J. Trump, how would that possibly dilute our vote here in Arkansas?” she said.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Texas lawsuit on Friday evening.

On the PBM legal victory, Rutledge said the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling will help small-town pharmacies and access to healthcare. The lawsuit centered around a 2015 Arkansas law that more strictly regulated PBMs after local pharmacies complained about rising wholesale costs that made fulfilling prescriptions unprofitable.

“This is a big win for local pharmacies, but it’s also a big win for all Arkansans, all Americans with regard to affordable, accessible healthcare,” said Rutledge, a candidate for governor in 2022.

When asked if it will lead to higher drug prices due to more PBM regulation, Rutledge said, “It shouldn’t increase the cost of drugs at all. Matter of fact, it should decrease because now, we’re going to get to pull behind the curtain and see what PBMs are making.”

You can watch Rutledge’s full interview in the video below. She also discusses her new activity in a lawsuit challenging Facebook’s alleged monopoly as well as her position on wearing masks in public.