The Biden administration asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to issue a stay against lower courts, which would reinstate vaccine mandates for health care workers at hospitals receiving federal funding.
Workers who are employed at health care facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funds were ordered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to institute a mask mandate, though such mandates were met with numerous lawsuits.
Federal judges in Louisiana and Missouri issued rulings that blocked the federal public health mandate in 24 states.
The administration, which filed their appeal through the Department of Justice, requested the Supreme Court to lift such rulings while the cases continue. Justice Brett Kavanaugh will rule on the cases, given their geographic location.
“In response to an unprecedented pandemic that has killed 800,000 Americans, the Secretary of Health and Human Services exercised his express statutory authority to protect the health and safety of Medicare and Medicaid patients by requiring healthcare facilities that choose to participate in those programs to ensure that their staff are vaccinated (subject to medical and religious exemptions),” the administration argued in their appeal.
“That requirement will save hundreds or even thousands of lives each month, and the Eleventh Circuit has held that it is a valid exercise of the Secretary’s authority,” the appeal continued.
“Yet the requirement has been blocked in ten States by the district court’s preliminary injunction in this case, which a divided panel of the Eighth Circuit declined to stay in a one-sentence order. This application seeks a stay of that injunction to allow the Secretary’s urgently needed health and safety measure to take effect before the winter spike in COVID-19 cases worsens further.”
The Biden administration’s COVID-related mandates have faced opposition, including from five Republican governors who sent a letter to the Pentagon asking the Department of Defense to remove its coronavirus vaccine mandate on National Guard members.
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