Two of the biggest health care lawsuits to dominated headlines in 2018 are spinning their wheels as they roll into 2019. Challenges to the latest Affordable Care Act ruling, as well as the class-action suit filed by affected cities and counties across the country against opioid manufacturer are in limbo during the government shutdown.
The Hill reports that the Department of Justice has requested that a federal judge pause all briefings that are connected with a motion filed by House Democrats to intervene as a defendant in a lawsuit led by 20 GOP state attorneys general against the ACA. DOJ attorneys say that they “cannot complete their work properly due to the government shutdown,” according to The Hill.
The government opposes the motion, which was undertaken by Democratic state attorneys general since the Trump administration has taken the position of not defending the ACA. While the government’s response to the motion, along with other parties’ responses, is due on January 24, that is not likely to happen since DOJ attorneys aren’t allowed to work during the shutdown.
And that’s not the only court action on hold thanks to the battle over the Great Wall that has shut down parts of the federal government. The lawsuit filed against companies tied to opioids, which is being overseen by a federal judge in Cleveland, is also shelved for the nonce in the wake of a December 26 order issued by the district court saying that any civil cases involving the DOJ would be put on hold for two weeks.
Cleveland.com reports that about 20 civil attorneys who defend the federal government from lawsuits were furloughed as a result of the shutdown, along with a number of support staff for the civil attorneys. As a result, Chief U.S. District Judge Patricia Gaughan issued an order Dec. 26 halting litigation for civil cases involving the United States, but has already said she would have to extend that order should the shutdown drag on.
Trump is holding out for $5.7 billion for a wall on the U.S./Mexico border, which polls show is unwanted by the American people. Democrats now in control of the House of Representatives have said they will not provide any money for a wall, which Democrats have termed “medieval.” And Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has said he won’t bring any proposal to a vote unless the president will sign it, thus eliminating the potential for bills to reopen the government, already passed in the Democratic House, to be passed over a Trump veto.