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Morrisey joins multi-state suit against Biden’s Medicare/Medicaid provider vaccine mandate

MORGANTOWN — State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has joined another multi-state lawsuit opposing a Biden administration vaccine mandate. This one concerns health care workers employed by providers receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding.

The 12-state coalition filed the suit Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana and is seeking a preliminary injunction to halt the application of the mandate.

Morrisey commented in a release announcing the suit: “The mandate threatens to further burden the health care sector and patient well-being in West Virginia, where a large percentage of nursing home and other long-term care facilities are already facing worker shortages.”

The suit alleges: “The Biden administration is playing statutory shell games with the courts, straining to justify an unjustifiable and unprecedented attempt to federalize public health policy and diminish the sovereign states’ constitutional powers. … No statute authorizes the federal executive to mandate vaccines to increase societal immunity. The administration’s solution? Use statutory schemes never before interpreted to allow federal vaccine mandates to shoehorn the president’s goals into the fabric of American society.”

The mandate aims to impose a vaccine on 17 million health care workers, the suit says. “But the Social Security Act focuses on patient welfare and patient access to care. By forcing a significant number of healthcare workers to take the vaccine or exit the Medicare and Medicaid workforce, CMS’s Vaccine Mandate harms access to (and thus quality of) patient care.”

The suit alleges that the mandate exceeds CMS’s statutory authority and violates the Social Security Act’s prohibition on regulations that control the hiring and firing of health care workers. It also violates multiple federal laws, clauses and doctrines and the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“The Vaccine Mandate will gravely harm the vulnerable persons whom Medicare and Medicaid were designed to protect — the poor, sick, and elderly — by forcing the termination of millions of essential ‘healthcare heroes,'” it says.

Morrisey said in his release that the mandate will hit the health care system in rural West Virginia particularly hard. “Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in the Mountain State are suffering from staff shortages. A large percentage of staff have chosen to remain unvaccinated, meaning the Biden administration mandate could make the shortages much worse.”

Louisiana is the lead state in the suit. Along with West Virginia the other plaintiffs are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah.

Earlier this month, Morrisey joined with other states to petition the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to halt Biden’s OSHA vaccine mandate for businesses employing 100 or more people.

A different court handling a similar suit — the 5th Circuit — permanently blocked the mandate, calling it “fatally flawed … staggeringly overbroad … a one-size-fits-all sledgehammer that makes hardly any attempt to account for differences in workplaces.”

According to news reports, the Biden administration wants the mandate kept in place, saying the stay “would likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day.”

However, because multiple appeals have been filed, a Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation lottery will decide which appeals court will issue the final decision on the consolidated cases, which would then be further appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

TWEET David Beard @dbeardtdp