Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson led a coalition of 10 states in challenging the vaccine mandate propagated by the Biden Administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on healthcare workers across the nation, becoming the first states to file a lawsuit challenging this mandate. Attorney General Eric Schmitt previously filed suit to halt the vaccine mandate on federal contractors and OSHA’s vaccine mandate on private employers.
“Unfortunately, with this latest mandate from the Biden Administration, last year’s healthcare heroes are turning into this year’s unemployed. Requiring healthcare workers to get a vaccination or face termination is unconstitutional and unlawful and could exacerbate healthcare staffing shortages to the point of collapse, especially in Missouri’s rural areas,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “My Office has been, and will continue to be, a national leader in challenging the Biden Administration’s illegal edicts, and this instance is our latest effort to push back on this unprecedented federal overreach.”
The CMS vaccine mandate, as the lawsuit mentions, “imposes an unprecedented federal vaccine mandate on nearly every full-time employee, part-time employee, volunteer, and contractor working at a wide range of healthcare facilities receiving Medicaid or Medicaid funding.”
Addressing what is at stake in the case, the lawsuit explains: “The CMS vaccine mandate also threatens to exacerbate an alarming shortage of healthcare workers, particularly in rural communities, that has already reached a boiling point. Indeed, the circumstances in the Plaintiff States—facts that CMS, which skipped notice-and-comment rulemaking, did not fully consider—foreshadow an impending disaster in the healthcare industry. By ignoring the facts on the ground and unreasonably dismissing concerns about workforce shortages, the CMS vaccine mandate jeopardizes the healthcare interests of rural Americans.”
To bolster this claim, the lawsuit cites Dr. Randy Tobler, CEO of Scotland County Hospital in Memphis, Missouri, who states: “There were people in the hospital that freely shared that if the vaccine mandate happened . . . , they would not work here. That’s just something they weren’t going to put in their body.”
The lawsuit incorporates nine counts: a substantive violation of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) for an arbitrary and capricious action not in accordance with the law, a substantive violation of the APA for an action in excess of authority and not in accordance with the law, a procedural violation of the APA for an action without notice and comment, a procedural violation of the Social Security Act for an action without notice and comment, a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1395z for failure to consult with appropriate state agencies, a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1302 for failure to prepare regulatory impact analysis, unconstitutional exercise of the spending power, a violation of the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine, and a violation of the Tenth Amendment and federalism.
The lawsuit asks the Court to declare that the vaccine mandate violates the APA and to enjoin defendants from enforcing the mandate.
In addition to Missouri and Nebraska, attorneys general from Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and New Hampshire also joined the lawsuit.
The full, as filed petition, can be found here.