President Joe Biden’s new rule that health care employers must vaccinate their employees against COVID-19 in order not to lose Medicare and Medicaid revenues drew predictable opposition from Republicans, two senior lawmakers said Thursday.
The GOP will look for ways to block the regulation, including subjecting it to a congressional vote on the House Review Act in an attempt to repeal it, Rep. Katie McMorris Rogers, Washington, Member of the Energy and Trade Council Committee and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R.-C.), the main Republican on the group’s health subcommittee, said in a press release.
“Our healthcare workers have been heroes on the front lines during this pandemic. They deserve our gratitude, not the prescriptions that force them to make a choice: obey the federal government or lose their livelihood altogether, ”said McMorris Rogers and Guthrie.
The long-awaited interim CMS final rule directs providers who treat Medicare and Medicaid patients, that is, virtually all providers, to meet vaccination requirements for the new coronavirus by January 4. or weekly employee testing on the same day. Agencies will accept public comments on the rules within 60 days of their publication.
Several states led by the GOP have filed or are planning to file lawsuits against the federal government over the OSHA rule.
Legal experts say the CMS rule has more compelling reasons than the OSHA rule. Health agency policy is tied to Medicare and Medicaid eligibility rules and adds COVID-19 vaccination requirement to existing standards.
CMS’s legal mandate is broad and specific, said James Hodge, director of the Center for Public Health Law and Policy at Arizona State University. “They can really say, ‘If you don’t want to receive these federal funds, then you don’t have to. Leave if you like, ”Hodge said.
Congress can reject federal bills by a simple majority through the Congressional Review Act, but even a successful attempt is likely to face a presidential veto that requires the backing of two-thirds of the House and Senate to overturn. Given the democratic majority in both chambers, any outcome is unlikely.