A group of 12 states filed a lawsuit Monday against the Biden administration in an attempt to block its vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, asserting that the requirement is unconstitutional and violates several federal laws. This legal action is in addition to a lawsuit filed last week by a group of 10 other states.
The COVID-19 vaccination emergency regulation issued last month by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services applies to all Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and facilities requires that facilities establish a policy ensuring that all workers have received the first dose of a two-dose regimen or a one-dose vaccine prior to providing any care, treatment or services on Dec. 5. It sets a Jan. 4 deadline for all eligible staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“The vaccine mandate causes grave danger to vulnerable persons whom Medicare and Medicaid were designed to protect — the poor, sick, and elderly — by forcing the termination [of employment] of millions of ‘healthcare heroes,’ ” the complaint reads.
Attorneys general from Montana, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia are plaintiffs in the case. The Department of Health and Human Services and its secretary, Xavier Becerra, and CMS and its administrator, Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, are named as defendants.
The 12-state coalition filed the lawsuit and requested a preliminary injunction on Monday in the U.S. Court for Western District of Louisiana, with Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen leading the challenge to “stop the Biden administration’s overreaching ‘job or jab’ COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers,” according to the attorney general’s website.
“The Biden administration is playing statutory shell games with the courts, straining to justify an unjustifiable and unprecedented attempt to federalize public health policy and diminish the sovereign states’ constitutional powers,” the lawsuit states.
“The federal mandates are not about health — they are about forced compliance. Healthcare workers should be allowed to make their own decisions about their health — not President Biden. If his unprecedented overreach is not stopped, healthcare workers will lose their jobs threatening access to medical care that Montanans need,” Knudsen said.
In a Tuesday call with Argentum members, panelists from Foley Hoag and Marsh Senior Care Practice outlined the requirements and legal challenges to rules and standards issued by CMS and the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Be prepared to act was their consensus. Read more here.