@NCCapitol

Legislative leaders end lawsuit over Cooper's Medicaid hopes

Posted July 20

— North Carolina Republican legislative leaders are stopping their lawsuit to block efforts by new Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to expand Medicaid before President Barack Obama left office.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger filed their dismissal notice Thursday in U.S. District Court. They said in a news release the lawsuit is now unnecessary because Cooper never submitted formal paperwork for expansion through the Affordable Care Act.

"We are pleased Gov. Cooper abandoned his plan to defy state and federal law and unilaterally expand 'Obamacare' in North Carolina but remain prepared to take swift legal action if he tries to make this unlawful move again," Berger and Moore said in a joint statement.

The January lawsuit argued Cooper couldn't seek expansion without formal legislative approval. Soon after, a federal judge temporarily blocked any action by health regulators.

Cooper announced during his first days in office he wanted expansion. Lawyers for his administration said legislative leaders were jumping the gun with litigation and acknowledged there needed to be legislative buy-in.

"We’re glad that Republican legislative leaders have dropped their case against bringing health care to millions of North Carolinians," Cooper spokesman Ford Porter said in a statement. "Expanding health care is the right thing to do for North Carolina’s people and our economy, and it would allow tax dollars already being paid by North Carolinians to help right here at home instead of going to other states. Legislators should never have filed this suit in the first place, and it’s a shame it took them this long to figure that out."

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