DOJ Asks Supreme Court to Lift Rulings Blocking Mandate for Health Care Workers

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has formally requested that the United States Supreme Court lift lower court orders that have halted the enforcement of the Biden administration’s requirements for certain health care workers to get vaccinated.

The White House has mandated that all workers in health facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding be vaccinated to protect against the coronavirus. Health care workers are required to be vaccinated. This was done in conjunction with a similar ruling for workers at companies with 100 employees or more which required employees to either get vaccinated for COVID-19 or test weekly to ensure they weren’t spreading the virus. The same rule applies to employees at companies with 100 or more employees. is being blocked by some lower courts.

This week, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a nationwide ban on the mandate on health workers that had been placed by a federal court. kept it in place for the 14 states that were part of the original lawsuit. Separately the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals kept in place a separate block of the health-care mandate that affects 10 additional states. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that it was the Biden administration that had the authority to issue this mandate.

On Thursday, Elizabeth Prelogar, Solicitor General, requested that the court orders that block implementation of the rule be placed on hold while the appeals process proceeds. She cited the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as well as its death toll.

Health officials are currently reporting over 1,280 individuals are dying from COVID-19On average, there is 23 percent more people in the U.S. each day than they did two weeks ago. Assisting health care workers to ensure that the vaccine rule is in place. Prelogar said in her filing, would “save hundreds or even thousands of lives each month” while the appeals process goes on.

Prelogar also stated in her briefing before the Court, that the mandate, officially issued and signed by Secretary Xavier Becerra of the Department of Health and Human Services, was necessary to stop the spread of the virus.

“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,” Prelogar said.

In the past, the Supreme Court indicated that it is more inclined than ever to allow vaccine mandates to stand.

It rejected a challenge to New York’s state mandateThis mandate also required health care workers and doctors to be vaccinated. The federal rule allows for exceptions to this mandate, but it is more restrictive. The High Court Maine mandate temporarily blockedIn October, despite the fact the state rule would be in effect before appeals could be heard, it was still in effect.

How the Court ruled on those states’ actions, however, might not be how it rules on the federal mandate for health care workers, should the lawsuits continue to make their way through the appellate process. Critics argue that the federal mandate is more than what is allowed by law.

According to a fact sheet from the White HouseThe mandate to get the vaccine for health care workers would apply to 17,000,000 workers in approximately 76,000 facilities across the U.S.

The majority of health workers are already vaccinated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), most health care workers are already vaccinated. approximately 30 percent of health care workers still need their shotsAlthough it may have fallen since November, this could be due in part to the new Omicron variant of the virus and the deadline to get fully vaccinated soon.