Supreme Court declines 10 states' challenge to CMS' vaccine mandate

The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 3 declined a case brought by 10 states challenging the Biden administration's rule that requires employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 if they work in healthcare facilities that receive federal funding.

In November 2021, HHS announced that healthcare facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding must ensure that staff are vaccinated against COVID–19, save for medical or religious exemptions. Shortly after, 10 states — Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming — challenged the rule and a federal judge in Missouri issued an order to temporarily block it in those states. In January, the Supreme Court reached a 5-4 decision in Biden v. Missouri that backed the vaccine mandate in healthcare facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding.

In April, the St. Louis-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit vacated the order blocking the vaccine rule from taking effect in the 10 states and declined to hear the states' claims that the vaccine rule violates federal administrative law and the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs, led by Missouri, also alleged the vaccine rule was "devastating small, rural and community-based healthcare facilities throughout the states." 

In May, the states brought their case back to the Supreme Court, petitioning for writ of certiorari. On Oct. 3, the Supreme Court declined to grant a writ of certiorari, meaning fewer than four justices found the circumstances of the decision of the 8th Circuit warranted review by the Supreme Court. 

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