- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a challenge from 10 states seeking to appeal a ruling affirming a mandate that healthcare workers be vaccinated against COVID-19 at medical facilities that receive federal funding.
- In January the high court upheld the rule in a 5-4 decision, declaring that CMS has the authority to enforce the mandate, while blocking the rule that employees at large employers must be vaccinated or tested weekly. The court’s liberal justices were joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the CMS case’s majority opinion.
- Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming filed the appeal.
In January the high court decided on two federal vaccine requirements: one from the CMS covering healthcare workers at facilities receiving federal funding, and another from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration covering large employers.
The high court narrowly upheld the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers while deciding against OSHA’s rule.
Under the CMS rule announced in November 2021, hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities must ensure staff are fully vaccinated or risk losing Medicare and Medicaid funding.
The justices ruled CMS had the authority to impose mandates on facilities as a condition of their Medicaid and Medicare participation, because facilities in the programs have long been required to follow certain rules, including those about infection prevention and control.
When the CMS rule was announced, the ten states sued President Biden, and a federal judge in Missouri issued a temporary order to block it. After the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the CMS in January, the states filed an appeal with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That court sent the case to a federal judge, and the states appealed to the Supreme Court in May.
Vaccination mandates have faced a whirlwind of legal challenges, and the Supreme Court has also declined to hear other cases recently.
In July, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case from healthcare workers in New York who argued that the state’s vaccine mandate did not include a religious exemption.