A federal judge on Friday agreed to temporarily halt litigation related to Gov. Roy Cooper’s attempts to expand Medicaid.
The stay will expire March 31, at which time the state and federal Department of Health and Human Services will be required to respond to the original complaint, and Republican legislators who filed that complaint will have to inform the court if a dispute still exists.
House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger filed the lawsuit earlier this month against the state and federal Department of Health and Human Services to stop Cooper from expanding Medicaid altogether. They were granted a temporary restraining order, which was granted but still a point of dispute before the court after defendants filed a motion to vacate the order.
Earlier this week, Moore and Berger filed a joint motion along with the federal Department of Health and Human Services (which is now under President Donald Trump’s control) to delay litigation for 60 days so that the new presidential administration could evaluate the issues of the case.
It was explained in that motion that the federal department agreed with the legislators not to process any request from North Carolina to expand Medicaid for 89 days.
The state department asked the federal court to dismiss the case altogether for lack of jurisdiction because it’s a state issue.
Judge Louise Wood Flanagan said in her order to delay litigation that the stay hinges on the following:
- Unless some objection be raised within seven days hereof causing the court to alter this determination, defendants’ response deadline to the complaint is March 31, 2017, which also is the deadline for the parties’ report alerting as to what disputes if any remain, and such other matters as the parties determine efficient to report;
- Should a defendant file a responsive motion in advance of the March 31, 2017, deadline, unless good cause be shown within seven days of service of the motion why response, if any, to said motion should be delayed, response shall be due in the regular course, subject to the court’s local civil rules concerning motions practice;
- Any response by the federal defendants to plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction shall be due no later than April 7, 2017. The state defendants shall have five days within which to comment on the record upon their co- defendants’ submission. Then, plaintiffs shall have five days to make their reply to defendants; and
- The state defendants shall file a copy of any proposal indicating date of the federal defendants’ receipt of same with the court.