© 2021 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Charlotte Area News

Federal Judge Puts NC Governor's Attempt To Expand Medicaid On Hold

Obamacare aimed to cover the poorest people through Medicaid expansion. After the U.S. Supreme Court made that optional, a coverage gap formed in states that chose not to expand.

Governor Roy Cooper's effort to expand North Carolina's Medicaid program is on hold for at least two weeks, following a federal judge's order over the weekend. 

Soon after taking office this month, Democratic Governor Roy Cooper vowed to move quickly to seek federal approval to expand the state's Medicaid program to more low-income residents under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.  On Saturday, U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan issued a temporary restraining order blocking any such move for at least two weeks. 

The order came one day after Republican leaders in the North Carolina legislature sued state and federal health agencies, seeking to block Cooper's effort. Republicans, including state House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger, say the governor's move would violate state law that requires legislative approval of any such expansion.  

Cooper’s chances of extending Medicaid coverage to more people may diminish quickly.  President-elect Donald Trump - whose administration begins Friday - and congressional Republicans say they'll work to repeal and replace Obamacare.