NEWS: Democrats Say There is Still Time to Get Out of Expensive Medicaid Expansion Lawsuit Contract

Contract Should be Stopped Before it’s Formally Executed

September 10, 2015

ANCHORAGE – Today, Democratic Representatives Sam Kito (D-Juneau) and Les Gara (D-Anchorage) called on the Alaska Legislative Council to drop the lawsuit filed against Alaska Governor Bill Walker over his decision to accept federal funding to provide healthcare to thousands of hard-working Alaskans. Dropping the Medicaid expansion lawsuit will save the state hundreds of thousands of dollars on a legal contract that is excessive and above market rates.

“Based on the actions by the Alaska Superior and Supreme Courts, we should drop this lawsuit and save the state money,” said Rep. Kito, who serves on the Legislative Council and voted against the contract. Rep. Kito also voted against suing the Governor over Medicaid expansion. “If they will not drop the lawsuit, they should at least renegotiate the contract so the Legislature receives pro bono or more reasonably priced services.”

“Paying a law firm a $100,000 signing bonus is excessive in a time of budget deficits. Paying a law firm $450,000 for a basic case that essentially involves straightforward legal research and writing is also excessive,” said Rep. Gara. “Since this contract has not yet been executed, the Legislative Council can still stop the signing bonus by dropping this wasteful lawsuit, finding a law firm that will work cheaper, or finding a volunteer law firm that will work pro-bono just like the Governor did.”

The Legislative Affairs Agency has confirmed the contract has not been “executed,” so the $100,000 signing bonus that’s part of the $450,000 contract does not yet apply.

Rep. Gara is a former attorney and Assistant Alaska Attorney General. He contacted a former Alaska judge and litigator who confirmed that the legal contract is excessively priced.

For more information contact Rep. Les Gara at (907) 250-0106 or Rep. Sam Kito at (907) 465-4766.

The professional services contract between the Alaska Legislative Council and Bancroft, PLLC is available here.


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