A federal judge on Monday blocked President Joe Biden’s administration from enforcing the coronavirus vaccine on thousands of healthcare workers in 10 states who filed their first lawsuit against the requirement.
The court ruling says the federal centers for Medicare and Medicaid do not have clear authority from Congress to mandate vaccines for providers participating in two state health programs for the elderly, the disabled, and the poor.
States sue healthcare workers to vaccinate against COVID-19
The preliminary injunction by District Judge Matthew Shelp of St. Louis extends to a coalition of filing states that include Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Similar claims are pending in other states.
Federal rule requires more than 17 million workers nationwide to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at approximately 76,000 health care facilities and home health care providers that receive funding from government health programs. Workers should receive the first dose of the drug by December 6, and the second by January 4.
CMS Requires COVID Vaccine For Medical Staff By Jan 4th
The judgment against prescribing a vaccine for health care came after the Biden administration suffered a similar setback for broader policy. A federal court previously suspended a separate rule requiring businesses with more than 100 employees to vaccinate their workers or wear masks and get tested for coronavirus weekly.
The Biden administration argues that federal rules are replacing state vaccine-ban policies and are essential to slowing the pandemic.
But a judge in the health care provider case wrote that federal officials have likely exceeded their legal authority.
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“CMS seeks to seize traditional government power with an unprecedented demand to dictate the private healthcare decisions of millions of Americans at the federal level. Such actions challenge traditional notions of federalism, ”Shelp wrote in his order.
Even with an extremely broad interpretation of federal mandate, “Congress clearly did not mandate the CMS to adopt this politically and economically broad mandate that redefines federalism and pushes boundaries,” Shelp wrote.