President Biden wants the Supreme Court to reinstate his COVID-19 vaccine mandate on health workers who work at hospitals that receive federal funding.
The move is the latest sign that Mr. Biden is scrambling to get his vaccine mandates back on track after a series of setbacks.
Federal courts in November struck down the rule for health workers, which Mr. Biden issued this fall as part of a bundle of mandates designed to lift vaccination rates at large companies and within the federal workforce and health sector.
Judges said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services needed to seek permission from Congress to exercise its authority through a vaccine mandate, but the Biden administration on Thursday argued the rules could save thousands of lives and fall under the health secretary’s authority.
“Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a more paradigmatic health and safety condition than a requirement that workers at hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities take the step that most effectively prevents transmission of a deadly virus to vulnerable patients,” said the emergency application to the Supreme Court.
Workers at sites that receive funding under programs like Medicaid and Medicare had until Jan. 4 to prove they were fully vaccinated under the rule, though now it will be up to the justices to decide if CMS overstepped its authority.
Another regulation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires unvaccinated workers at private companies with 100 or more employees to get tested for the virus weekly as of Jan. 4. The courts issued a stay against that rule, too, leaving it in limbo as the litigation marches toward the Supreme Court.
• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.
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