CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Twelve states, including West Virginia, have joined a lawsuit against the Biden Administration in opposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates for health care workers.
The mandate requires all health care workers, including those working for Medicare and Medicaid certified providers and suppliers, to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The 12-state coalition filed the lawsuit and an accompanying request for a preliminary injunction on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, according to a press release from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
“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,” said Morrisey.
In the press release, Morrisey’s office claimed that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ vaccine mandate for federally funded health care centers, “exceeds the agency’s statutory authority.” He also believes that it violates the Social Security Act’s ban on regulations that control the hiring and firing of health care workers as well as several laws related to the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The lawsuit claims that the mandate is a threat to the sick and elderly people who are treated by Medicare and Medicaid and the “health care heroes” who provide medical services and care.
Morrisey and the attorneys general from the 11 other states believe the mandate’s objective is “to coerce the unvaccinated workforce into submission or cause them to lose their livelihoods,” which will end in “health care workers losing their jobs and America’s most vulnerable populations losing access to necessary medical care.”
Morrisey claims that it will hit the health care system in rural West Virginia particularly hard. West Virginia is already experiencing staff shortages in its hospitals, and protests broke out in multiple counties, including Monongalia and Harrison, regarding hospitals’ vaccine mandates.
The lawsuit states that the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate violates the Tenth Amendment by seeking “to commandeer state-employee surveyors to become enforcers of CMS’s unlawful attempt to federalize national vaccine policy and override the States’ police power on matters of health and safety.”
In addition to West Virginia, attorneys general from Louisiana, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah are plaintiffs in the case.