Vermont, CO— A federal judge has temporarily blocked the state’s Medicaid program from expanding to the entire state as a way to reduce opioid overdose deaths.
The ruling from U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Denver Friday was the latest in a series of setbacks for the state in its efforts to expand Medicaid under the health care law.
President Donald Trump’s administration has vowed to take the case to the Supreme Judicial Court and is expected to argue that the expansion violates federal law.
The ruling means that the state of Colorado will remain on the federal health care program while the Supreme court considers whether to block the expansion, according to the Colorado Department of Health.
Under the health law, states can choose whether to expand their Medicaid programs.
While the court’s ruling on Friday doesn’t affect Colorado’s participation in the expansion program, it did stop the state from being able to draw on its existing Medicaid funds to expand the program, which is already fully funded.
The state will need to start drawing down its funding by 2019 or 2020 to cover its newly added costs, which could cost the state as much as $1.5 billion over the next three years, according the Colorado Health Department.
“This decision by the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has the potential to delay or even reverse the expansion of Medicaid for months,” said Sen. John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, who helped write the law.
“The court is making it difficult for the millions of people in this state who need the health and social services they currently receive to be able to access health care.
This decision should be appealed, and the state should immediately seek a stay.”
State Attorney General John Suthers issued a statement after the ruling.
“We believe that this is a case about one thing, and one thing only: protecting the health, safety, and well-being of Vermontans,” he said.
“That is why we have decided to file this lawsuit to halt the expansion and ensure that Vermont residents are not exposed to needless, unnecessary, and burdensome health care costs.
We will do everything we can to stop the expansion.”
The state is also appealing the federal government’s decision to halt Medicaid expansion.
A spokeswoman for the federal Department of Justice said the Justice Department is reviewing the case.
“We’re reviewing the Ninth Court of Appeal’s decision and will continue to evaluate the case as we go forward,” said Sarah McBride, a spokesperson for the U of S Department of Education.
Read moreColorado’s Medicaid is the state health insurance program for the poor and disabled.
Colorado is one of several states in the U, including Virginia, that are waiting for the Supreme in the case that has been called the largest Medicaid expansion in U.s history.
On Saturday, the Justice announced that it will review a lawsuit filed by seven Democratic governors in which they are challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
At issue is whether states are allowed to continue to expand coverage under the federal law when the federal courts strike down portions of the health reform law, which requires all states to expand health insurance coverage to the poorest and most vulnerable Americans.
In June, the Supreme struck down parts of the law including its Medicaid expansion, while the federal Ninth Circuit is expected later this month to take up the issue.