Nov. 12, 2021 -- Another lawsuit has been filed against the Biden administration over vaccine mandates, this time focusing on the rule by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that almost all health care workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Ten states filed the suit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, saying the CMS vaccine mandate could create “an impending disaster in the health care industry.”

“The CMS vaccine mandate threatens with job loss millions of healthcare workers who risked their lives in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to care for strangers and friends in their communities,” the lawsuit says. “Critically, the CMS vaccine mandate also threatens to exacerbate an alarming shortage of healthcare workers, particularly in rural communities, that has already reached a boiling point.”

CMS announced Nov. 4 that workers in health care facilities that receive funding from Medicare and Medicaid must be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 or face losing their jobs. The requirement covers 76,000 providers and more than 17 million health care workers, the CMS said in a news release.

CMS issued a statement defending the vaccine mandate, saying, “there is no question that staff in any health care setting who remain unvaccinated pose both direct and indirect threats to patient safety and population health,” The New York Times said.

The lawsuit was filed by the attorneys general of Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and New Hampshire.

Employees of nursing homes, where so many deaths and infections occurred during the early days of the COVID pandemic, are among the health care workers required to get vaccinated. The New York Times, citing federal data, said about 73% of nursing home workers are vaccinated.

Other lawsuits have been filed over the mandate.

Last week, five states sued to stop the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for organizations and companies with 100 or more employees. On Saturday, a three-judge panel for the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked implementation of the mandate while the case is considered.

The key question in that lawsuit is whether the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has the authority to issue a vaccine mandate or whether that job belongs to Congress.

Similar lawsuits against the vaccine mandate were filed in federal court in Kentucky by Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee, and in federal court in Missouri by Arizona, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Arkansas, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, New Hampshire, and Wyoming.

Show Sources

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri: Case: 4:21-cv-01329, Filed 11/10/21.

The New York Times: “Ten states sue the U.S. over the vaccine mandate for health care workers.”

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: “Biden-Harris Administration Issues Emergency Regulation Requiring COVID-19 Vaccination for Health Care Workers.”

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit: “Petition for Review of Occupational Safety and Health Administration Emergency Temporary Standard,” No. 21-50353.

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