WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a challenge from 10 mostly conservative states that sued the Biden administration over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care facilities that receive federal funding.
Back in January the Supreme Court halted enforcement of a Biden administration vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers. But the court permitted a vaccine mandate imposed by the Department of Health and Human Services on people employed at health care facilities that receive federal funding through Medicare and Medicaid. That measure affects about 10 million workers.
"One such function – perhaps the most basic, given the department’s core mission – is to ensure that the healthcare providers who care for Medicare and Medicaid patients protect their patients' health and safety," the court wrote in an unsigned opinion that drew a dissent from four conservative justices.
Ten conservative states, led by Missouri, came back to the high court in May seeking a ruling on the merits. The states argued that the mandate was arbitrary and capricious and violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which sets out the process federal agencies must follow to approve new regulations.
The case is Missouri v. Biden.
The mandate, the states alleged, is "now devastating small, rural, and community-based healthcare facilities and systems throughout the states" because of worker shortages caused by employees who decline to receive the vaccine. The Biden administration counterd that the states are relying on out-of-date information about staffing and that the department may set requirements for facilities that receive federal money.
The St. Louis-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit sided with the administration.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Supreme Court declines challenge to vaccine mandate for health workers