Source: (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
By Katie Pavlich
Judge Matthew Schelp of the Eastern District of Missouri issued an injunction halting President Joe Biden’s Wuhan coronavirus vaccine mandate for Medicare and Medicaid workers in ten states Monday, citing a lack of approval from Congress.
“The mandate requires nearly every employee, volunteer, and third-party contractor working at fifteen catogires of healthcare facilities to be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 (“COVID”) and to have received at least a first dose of the vaccine prior to December 6, 2021,” court documents show. “Congress did not grant CMS authority to mandate the vaccine. Plaintiffs are likely to succeed in their argument that Congress has not provided CMS the authority to enact the regulation at issue here.”
“Given the vast economic and political significance of this vaccine mandate, only a clear authorization from Congress would empower CMS to act,” the ruling states. “Because this mandate significantly alters the balance between federal and state power, only a clear authorization from Congress would empower CMS. In the absence of a clear indication that Congress intended for CMS to invoke such significant authority, the Court will not infer congressional intent.”
Further, Schelp made the argument that a shortage of healthcare workers caused by the vaccine mandate is far more damaging than unvaccinated workers continuing to see patients.
“According to CMS, the effectiveness of the vaccine to prevent disease transmission by those vaccinated is not currently known, what is known based on the evidence before the Court is that the mandate will have a crippling effect on a significant number of healthcare facilities in Plaintiffs’ states, especially in rural areas, services (resulting in no medical care at all in some instances), and jeopardize the lives of numerous vulnerable citizens. The prevalent, tangible, and irremediable impact of the mandate tips the balance of equities in favor of a preliminary injunction,” Schelp wrote.
The mandate was also ruled arbitrary and capricious for the following reasons:
The mandate is arbitrary and capricious because the record is devoid of evidence regarding the covered healthcare facilities.
The mandate is arbitrary and capricious because CMS improperly rejected alternatives to the mandate.
The mandate is arbitrary and capricious because of its broad scope.
The mandate is arbitrary and capricious due to CMS’s sudden change in course.
The mandate is arbitrary and capricious because CMS failed to consider or properly weigh necessary reliance interests.
The states where the mandate is halted includes Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, Iowa and New Hampshire. The lawsuit was filed by the State of Missouri against President Joe Biden.