Judge temporarily blocks Biden administration vaccine mandate for health-care workers in 10 states

Eli Rosenberg, Adela Suliman

November 30, 2021

-Washington Post


A federal judge in Missouri has partially halted another one of the Biden administration’s key vaccine requirements, temporarily blocking the imposition of a rule for certain health-care workers in 10 states.

The Biden administration issued the vaccine mandate, for health-care workers at facilities that received funding from Medicare and Medicaid, in early November through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). It was estimated to apply to some 1.7 million workers at 76,000 facilities across the country, including hospitals and nursing homes.

But in a 32-page ruling issued on Monday in St. Louis, U.S. District Judge Matthew T. Schelp, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, said that a preliminary injunction to halt the rule was warranted because he believed the arguments made by the plaintiffs — 10 mostly Republican-dominated states — that the CMS lacked authority to implement the requirement, probably had merit.

He also questioned whether there was enough data about transmissibility and vaccination status, and he said that he believed the order was probably “arbitrary and capricious.”

“Congress did not clearly authorize CMS to enact this politically and economically vast, federalism-altering, and boundary-pushing mandate, which Supreme Court precedent requires,” he wrote.

The order will halt the CMS vaccine mandate in the 10 states that brought the lawsuit until the court can hear their legal challenges. They are: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

CMS did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post.

However, CMS said in a statement that it was reviewing the ruling and underscored that unvaccinated health-care workers posed a threat to patient safety, according to Reuters.

The ruling is another legal blow to the Biden administration’s efforts to combat the pandemic by increasing vaccination rates through mandates and requirements. A rule from the Labor Department, which would require private companies of 100 or more employees to institute mandatory vaccine or weekly testing programs, has also been stopped in the courts, by a panel of three judges, two of whom were appointed by Trump and the other by President Ronald Reagan.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) welcomed the news. “Our system of checks & balances, federalism, separation of powers was meant to protect individual liberty. The belief in individual rights is one of America’s great legacies,” he wrote Monday on Twitter. “Our win today vs. the Biden healthcare worker vaccine mandate is a win for workers & a win for liberty.”

As cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus continue to be detected globally, President Biden on Monday emphasized that vaccines were a key defense. “The best protection against this new variant or any of the variants out there, the ones we’ve been dealing with already, is getting fully vaccinated and getting a booster shot,” Biden said in remarks from the Roosevelt Room.


2021-11-30T18:44:54+00:00November 30, 2021|Current Events|0 Comments

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