The Nebraska Supreme Court has declined to hear a complaint that state officials have not enacted Medicaid expansion, despite the election that was held in November.

The case, Ely v. Smith, challenges the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) over the delayed timeline for implementing Medicaid expansion.

In late August, Nebraska Appleseed filed a lawsuit on behalf of two uninsured Nebraskans seeking to ensure compliance with the mandates of Initiative 427 and expand Medicaid coverage in 2019.

Appleseed approached the state Supreme Court directly, without going through the lower courts. Now that the high court has declined to hear the complaint, Appleseed’s Economic Justice Director James Goddard said the complaint will be filed in district court – the more conventional venue.

“The jurisdiction of the Nebraska Supreme Court is discretionary when a mandamus case has not been heard in a lower court,” Goddard said. “Although the court determined it would not hear the case as an original matter, it did not pass judgment on the merits of the case itself.”

“We will pursue the case at the district court, with the same intent, to ensure Medicaid expansion is implemented swiftly for our clients who have serious health conditions, and tens of thousands of Nebraskans who are facing similar health challenges as they wait for coverage,” he said.