A federal judge said Thursday that she has all the documents she needs to decide a Medicaid expansion dispute between top GOP lawmakers and the state, and there will no longer be a court hearing Friday in New Bern.
U.S. District Court Judge Louise Wood Flanagan will either decide to halt litigation for 60 days so that President Donald Trump’s administration can evaluate the issues or she will decide whether or not the state can proceed with plans to expand Medicaid. She could also decide to dismiss the case.
House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger filed a lawsuit earlier this month against the state and federal Department of Health and Human Services to stop Gov. Roy Cooper from expanding Medicaid.
They also filed a request Thursday, along with the federal Department of Health and Human Services (which is now under Trump’s control) to delay litigation for 60 days.
The state has responded by reaffirming its underlying argument that the lawsuit does not belong in federal court, that it’s an issue of state law. It has asked that the case be dismissed altogether.
The stated rationale for the joint stay motion is “to allow time for incoming officials in the new [federal] administration to evaluate the issues in this case.” Stay Motion 1. That rationale has no bearing on Plaintiffs’ claim against the State Defendants, which concerns only whether the State Defendants may submit their proposed State Plan Amendment. Accordingly, there is no reason to delay resolution of the issues in this case with respect to the State Defendants. The State Defendants intend to move promptly, and in accord with any schedule set by the Court, to dismiss Plaintiffs’ claim against them, as forecast in the State Defendants’ previous filings in this case. Finally, for the reasons explained in the State Defendants’ briefs to date, the State Defendants respectfully submit that the proper course would be for the Court to dismiss the action because the Court lacks jurisdiction, rather than stay the proceedings.