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Legislators announce federal lawsuit over Cooper’s efforts to expand Medicaid

Senate President Phil Berger

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore

North Carolina legislative leaders filed a federal lawsuit Friday to stop Gov. Roy Cooper’s efforts to expand Medicaid, though he is not named in the court document.

The 20-page lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger are listed as plaintiffs and defendants include the federal and state Department of Health and Human Services.

The following is a joint statement from Moore and Berger:

“Unlike others, this is the first time we will be plaintiffs in a lawsuit, and it is not a decision we’ve made lightly – but unfortunately our multiple attempts to amicably convince Gov. Cooper to follow the law have fallen on deaf ears. Cooper’s brazen decision to press on with his unconstitutional Obamacare expansion scheme and ignore the General Assembly’s constitutional role to make laws requires swift legal action.

“Today has raised even more serious questions about how closely Gov. Cooper and the Obama administration have coordinated to force an unconstitutional Obamacare expansion in the last few days of the president’s administration, with the governor offering a cabinet post to a senior Obama administration official leading the very organization tasked with reviewing his proposal.”

Earlier this afternoon, Cooper named Dr. Mandy Cohen, the chief operating officer at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Cohen is a longtime state lawmaker and a Medicaid expert.

She was most recently responsible for implementing national policies for Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Federal Marketplace for the Affordable Care Act, according to the Governor’s Office.

Cooper announced last week that he will expand Medicaid.

“It’s disappointing that legislative leaders are once again fighting the governor instead of working with him to bring better health care for hundreds of thousands of working people and more jobs to North Carolina,” Cooper spokesman Ford Porter told WRAL Friday evening. “The offer to work together still stands.”

In their media release, Moore and Berger said they have repeatedly explained that Cooper does not have the authority to unilaterally expand Medicaid without legislative approval. They also asked Congress and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last week to disapprove the governor’s illegal request, the release states.


  1. Charlie Willey

    January 14, 2017 at 12:16 am

    Why do you not want to help the sick and poor with Medicare Expansion? My God, do you not have a heart. They need the health care and I just don’t understand how you can be so heartless and cruel.

  2. Edison Carter

    January 14, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Why do our Tar Heel Teabilly Taliban representatives in Raleigh hate the citizens of North Carolina so much? Elections have consequences, and apparently they don’t care about the thousands that do have health insurance and medical access. They should be reminded that they get paid by the citizens of this state to do what;s right for all citizens, and not what outside influences like the Koch brothers and A.L.E.C. and even or own “Minnie-Me” Koch brother Art “I Inherited My Wealth From Mommy and Daddy” Pope.

    The pain that will befall the thousand of North Carolina citizens is on their shoulders and conscience, but it’s obvious that they don’t even care. Vote them out next election cycle and Let’s Make North Carolina Great Again.

  3. Keith Stiles

    January 14, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    These people are evil incarnate. They don’t care about anyone or anything but their extreme right wing nut-hatch agenda.

  4. Anna Reed

    January 14, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    we need expanded medicaid. I have served as a parent rep on committees. I know for one thing that hurts families are the caregivers caring for their special needs when they reach over 18 years old. and caregiver or guardian cannot nor approved for medicaid cause of this Obamacare or even under ACA. It should be expanded to families that care for special needs. that do not qualify for this evil care or other. should be applies to special needs families of children reaches over 18 for parent/ caregiver or guardian to receive expanded medicaid.

  5. P Cahill

    January 15, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Here’s a really simple concept — spend money and resources on healthcare for all rather than lawsuits.

  6. Gerlinde Lindy

    January 15, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    What is this–a pissing contest about prerogatives while people are dying for lack of proper health care? Governor Cooper is absolutely right to expand Medicaid while Moore and Berger are nothing but petulant, small minded party hacks.

  7. lynn

    January 16, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Medicaid should have expanded in NC years ago. The legislature needs an overhaul. Those men HAVE healthcare and MONEY, and will have it until they die. This is fair? I’ve seen families crying when they found out they made “too much” money for Medicaid in NC and “too little” to qualify for a plan under the Affordable Care Act. Unbelievable. Uncaring. Cruel.

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