Gov. Cooper's Medicaid expansion temporarily blocked

FILE- In this June 24, 2016, file photo, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper speaks during a forum in Charlotte, N.C. Cooper, North Carolina's next Democratic governor, has vowed to keep his campaign promises to bend back the rightward course of the state. But with only a 10,000-vote victory over GOP Gov. Pat McCrory and bitter partisan distrust in this deeply divided state, he’s already slipped along the rocky path he must walk to work successfully with the legislature. And Republicans will maintain veto-proof majorities in 2017. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the federal government from quickly approving any proposal by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to expand Medicaid to more people through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

The order issued Saturday night by U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan came a day after Republican legislative leaders sued to block federal regulators from granting the expansion that the new Democratic governor has started to seek.

Earlier Saturday lawyers for House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger wrote Flanagan they were worried federal Medicaid regulators could implement the expansion as early as Monday. They say Cooper can't request the expansion, citing a state law preventing it with approval of the General Assembly.

The order for now lasts two weeks.

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