10 States Contest ‘Unlawful’ Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers

By Victor Westerkamp | November 15, 2021
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Uncle Sam was also present at a protest against vaccine mandates. Ten states filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers which affects more than 17 million nurses across 76,000 CMS-certified healthcare facilities and providers (Image: MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO/Getty Images)

Ten Republican governed states have filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers’, calling it unconstitutional and unlawful.

The Lawsuit

In an official statement on Wednesday, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, one of the complainants, said: “Unfortunately, with this latest mandate from the Biden administration, last year’s health care heroes are turning into this year’s unemployed.”

The lawsuit was initiated by the attorneys general of Missouri, Nebraska, and Alaska, and co-signed by those of Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota, Arkansas, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Wyoming — all Republican-governed states.

“Requiring health care workers to get a vaccination or face termination is unconstitutional and unlawful and could exacerbate health care staffing shortages to the point of collapse, especially in Missouri’s rural areas,” Schmitt added.

Schmitt announced the lawsuit on Nov. 10 on his Twitter page, stating: “Today, we filed suit to halt the Biden Administration’s unlawful vaccine mandate on health care workers.”

The Vaccine Mandate

The vaccine mandate, which the Biden administration issued on Nov. 5 through the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS), affects more than 17 million nurses across 76,000 CMS-certified healthcare facilities and providers who receive funding from government health programs. 

Schmitt called the CMS issued mandate an “unprecedented overreach.” 

“By expanding its reach in this way, the mandate broadly sweeps in a diverse set of health care providers,” the complaint states. “These include, among others, rural health clinics, hospitals, long-term-care facilities, and home health agencies.”

CMS Cutting Funds

In addition to non-compliant workers who face being laid off, health care providers who refuse to comply may face termination of their CMS funding. 

The complaint cites Dr. Randy Tobler, who runs the Scotland County Hospital in Memphis, Missouri, a small rural hospital, as saying: 

“There were people in the hospital that freely shared that if the vaccine mandate happened . . . they would not work here. That’s just something they weren’t going to put in their body.” 

The coalition further contended that a vaccination mandate has “always been the province of—and still properly belongs to—the states.”

“Federalism allows states to tailor such matters in the best interests of their communities,” it said. “The heavy hand of CMS’s nationwide mandate does not. This court should thus set aside that rule as unlawful agency action under the Administrative Procedure Act.”

READ MORE: 11 States Challenge Biden’s Vaccine Mandate in Court

The mandate for health workers has no opt-out for vaccination by regularly testing, as is the case with the general private employer mandate. As to the reason why there’s no such option for medical employees, a senior administration official told The Epoch Times:

“We have a higher bar for health care workers, given their critical role in ensuring the health and safety of their patients,” adding that,  “And so it’s either vaccination or an exemption under the rules outlined.”