Gavin Newsom Humiliated: Threat to Cancel Walgreens Runs Afoul of Federal Law

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

California Governor Gavin Newsom has made a name for himself meddling in other states’ affairs and issuing sweeping proclamations on Twitter. Earlier this month, the exquisitely coiffed pol decided to punish major retailer Walgreens for deciding not to distribute abortion medication in 20 states. The chain was under intense pressure from anti-abortion lawmakers across the country and a changing legal environment after the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v Wade.

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How dare they! Abortion extremist Newsom was infuriated:

Well that certainly sounds like a decisive governor taking decisive action. Unfortunately for Newsom, however, he forgot to do his homework in advance—it turns out the Golden State is legally obligated to do business with Walgreens. Kaiser Health News reports:

California is legally bound to continue doing business with Walgreens through the state’s massive Medicaid program, health law experts said. And according to a public records request, the state paid Walgreens $1.5 billion last year.

Oops. Might want to delete that tweet, Gavin. For some reason, he hasn’t yet, but his minions are in full backtrack mode:

Newsom’s administration confirmed it will “continue to comply” with federal law by paying Walgreens through Medi-Cal, which provides health coverage to roughly 15 million residents with low incomes and disabilities. Were California to stop covering Medi-Cal prescriptions filled at Walgreens stores, legal scholars warned, the state would run afoul of federal law, which allows patients to get their medications at any approved pharmacy.

Tony Cava, a spokesperson for the California Department of Health Care Services, issued  a statement admitting that the governor’s declaration actually doesn’t mean all that much: “California has no intention of taking any action that would violate federal Medicaid requirements, or that could undermine access for low-income individuals.”

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In a laughable self-own, Newsom spokesperson Anthony York admitted, “Tweeting is not policy.”

The obvious question is: then why tweet at all? And, maybe you might want to do some homework before blasting out meaningless “policy” that in fact is not policy and runs counter to the law. As one of my colleagues said, “At least [Florida Governor Ron] DeSantis actually ensures what he’s going to do is legally OK before making pronouncements.”

The empty threat to Walgreens is yet another in a long line of examples of Newsom flashing style over substance. He routinely issues slick ads telling us how great he’s doing—meanwhile California is awash in homelessness, has a $22 billion deficit, and is hemorrhaging residents who are fleeing for happier locales.

“It’s much more about appearances and style and approach than it is about substance,” said David McCuan, political science department chair at Sonoma State University. Newsom and his administration “oversell their pronouncements and don’t actually deliver.”

This isn’t the first time Newsom has had to backtrack: in June of 2021, he banned state-funded travel to red states he didn’t appreciate. Not surprisingly, he was later caught traveling to one of those states, Montana, and even used state funds to pay for his security. Hypocritical, much? Now that ban is in jeopardy, too, as Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, has introduced Senate Bill 447 which would repeal the ban. The Orange County Register opines that Newsom might be behind such an effort as it would allow him to travel to red states to campaign in the future.

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Newsom has been a colossal failure for California, yet somehow many think he’s got a serious shot at the presidency should he decide to run (he insists that he has no plans to do so). I only hope the public remembers this and the countless other egg-on-face moments Newsom has endured since he first began tearing apart Cali.

There’s a lesson here that Gavin presumably will ignore, one I always tell my kids: do your homework. Actually, there are two lessons here, the second being, “tweeting does not equal policy.”

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