Biden asks Supreme Court to allow nationwide vaccination mandate for healthcare workers

President Joe Biden's administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court Dec. 16 to allow the CMS vaccination mandate for eligible staff at healthcare facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs to take effect across the country, Politico and Bloomberg reported.

The move, brought to the Supreme Court by the Department of Justice, came after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Dec. 15 denied the Biden administration's request to lift a district court's injunction that blocked the mandate in 14 states that had challenged the mandate, but granted a stay on the injunction's application to any other jurisdiction.

That 5th Circuit decision effectively revived the mandate in 26 states. However, it left the mandate temporarily blocked in the 10 states where it was halted by an order issued Nov. 29 by U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp in the Eastern District of Missouri: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. It also left the mandate temporarily blocked in the 14 states involved in the case reviewed by the New Orleans appeals court: Louisiana, Montana, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. 

Now, the Biden administration is asking the nation's highest court to stop the lower court decisions in Louisiana and Missouri that are blocking the rule in about half the U.S., according to Politico and Bloomberg.

States challenging the federal mandate for healthcare workers argue that CMS lacks the authority to enact the regulation. U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar argued Dec. 16 that "delaying the rule would cause serious, tangible harm to public health," according to Bloomberg.

Challenges to the CMS mandate continue to make their way through the legal system. In Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Dec. 16 that the state secured a preliminary injunction against the federal mandate for healthcare workers. 

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