The Biden administration’s federal vaccine mandate is running into more legal headwinds with an injunction issued by a district court that affects Medicare and Medicaid providers in ten states.
The legal development was initially reported by the Election Wizard,who notes that the “federal district court grants injunction halting Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for Medicare-and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers several states, including Missouri, Iowa, and New Hampshire.”
The legal complaint was initially filed against Joe Biden, the Department of Health & Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and a number of other relevant parties.
“This case illustrates why the police power over compulsory vaccination has always been the province of—and still properly belongs to—the States,” the lawsuit argues. “Vaccination requirements are matters
that depends on local factors and conditions.”
“Federalism allows States to tailor such matters in the best interests of their communities,” the plaintiffs add. “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.”
The ten states sued President Biden, the Department of Health & Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and other relevant parties.
“The states sued President Joe Biden and his administration challenging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Interim Final Rule (IFR) setting COVID-19 vaccination requirements for a range of employees working at Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers,” JDSupra reported.
“On November 10, 2021, 10 states led by Eric S. Schmitt, the attorney general of the State of Missouri, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri seeking a declaratory ruling, as well as preliminary and permanent injunctions enjoining CMS from imposing the IFR’s mandate. Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming are the other states in the suit,” the report noted. “This lawsuit is similar to ones challenging new Biden Administration COVID-19 vaccination requirements for federal contractors and employers with a total of 100 or more employees.”
The states claim in part that:
- CMS failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). They claim that the IFR was arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion, especially because, the states allege, the vaccination requirement will cause healthcare workers to leave their employers at a time when hospitals and other healthcare providers already are struggling with substantial staffing shortages.
- The IFR’s broad scope (covered are employees, as well as volunteers and contractors performing services for the covered provider or supplier) is too removed from the rationale of protecting patient safety. Therefore, it is arbitrary and capricious under the APA.
- CMS failed to comply with the APA’s notice-and-comment requirements.
- The mandate exceeds the rulemaking power of CMS and violates the U.S. Constitution’s Tenth Amendment by encroaching on a state’s authority to regulate public health.
“The lawsuit also alleges violations of the Social Security Act,” JDSupra notes, and notes the mandate issuers’ “failure to consult with appropriate state agencies under 42 U.S.C. Section 1395z, failure to prepare the requisite regulatory impact analysis, unlawful use of the federal government’s spending power, and unlawfully compelling states to implement this program in violation of the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine.”
The key compliance dates for the mandate are December 5 and January 4. This injunction is in effect as litigation proceeds in district court.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.