Sixteen states are appealing a federal COVID-19 vaccine requirement for health care employees who work in Medicare and Medicaid-funded institutions once again.
The filing in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana comes after the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) issued final guidance on the mandate, contending that the guidance is a reviewable action.
The first Louisiana challenge to the requirement, as well as a similar Missouri complaint, were both dismissed by the United States Supreme Court on January 13 by a 5-4 majority.
In late November, the first Louisiana filing resulted in a countrywide injunction. Following the Supreme Court’s decision, a federal court in Texas dismissed a similar lawsuit.
Gov. Bill Lee of Tennessee has stated that he supports the fresh lawsuit. Tennessee was included in the new file alongside Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.
“We’re taking the CMS vaccine mandate to court again so Tennessee health-care workers may make their own health-care decisions,” Lee said. “While this mandate exemplifies government overreach at its worst, it also jeopardizes our capacity to staff facilities and provide care for the elderly, disabled, and other high-priority populations.”
Workers in states not involved in the lawsuits had until February 28 to be vaccinated, while those included in the ruling had until March 15 to obtain injections, according to CMS’ order. Those in Texas who have not been completely vaccinated have until March 21 to do so.
The 16 states involved in the latest lawsuit claim that the COVID-19 omicron variant has resulted in health-care staffing shortages, which will be exacerbated by a vaccination mandate.
“The CMS vaccination regulation remains a stupid, one-size-fits-all, job-killing order that fails to account for any change in circumstances – including how immunizations do not prevent the transmission of the Omicron variation,” said Attorney General Jeff Landry of Louisiana in a statement. “What’s more, the federal government has made it obvious that states are expected to adopt this erroneous policy with state personnel.” As a result, I will continue to fight this ill-advised violation of individual sovereignty and the rights of my state.