Judge Temporarily Blocks N.C. Medicaid Expansion

(CN) – A federal judge temporarily blocked North Carolina’s new Democratic governor from expanding Medicaid, granting a request by GOP lawmakers.

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger filed a lawsuit on Jan. 13 to block Gov. Roy Cooper’s effort to expand Medicaid benefits to hundreds of thousands of state residents.

They claim Cooper’s plan to expand the program without the necessary approval of the GOP-lead General Assembly violates state law.

“Although State law requires him to give ninety days’ notice of any proposal to expand Medicaid coverage, the Governor gave only ten days’ notice in a transparent effort to get his ultra vires proposal before a friendly presidential administration,” the complaint says.

Moore and Berger claim Cooper wanted to submit his plan to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services before President Barack Obama leaves office.

The temporary stay granted by U.S. District Judge Louise Wood Flanagan on Saturday won’t expire for 14 days, meaning by the time its lifted, Donald Trump will be president.

The GOP lawsuit comes at a particularly heated time in North Carolina politics.  However, it didn’t take on Cooper directly.

Instead, it seeks to enjoin the administrators of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid from granting the Cooper’s request, which Moore and Berger claim would cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

The agencies have filed a request to vacate the restraining order; meanwhile Moore and Berger continue to press to make the order permanent.