Supreme Court Says Yes to Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers

The US Supreme Court on Thursday struck down President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for large businesses but said a similar one for healthcare workers may continue while challenges to the rules move through lower courts.

The vote was 6-3 against the large business mandate and 5-4 in favor of the health care worker mandate. Only health care workers at facilities that receive federal money through Medicare or Medicaid are affected, but that includes large swaths of the country’s health care industry.

Biden’s proposed vaccine mandate for businesses covered every company with more than 100 employees. It would require those businesses to make sure employees were either vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19.

In its ruling, the majority of the court called the plan a “blunt instrument.” The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was to enforce the rule, but the court ruled the mandate is outside the agency’s purview.

“OSHA has never before imposed such a mandate. Nor has Congress. Indeed, although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID–19 pandemic, it has declined to enact any measure similar to what OSHA has promulgated here,” the majority wrote.

The court said the mandate is “no ‘everyday exercise of federal power.’ It is instead a significant encroachment into the lives — and health — of a  vast number of employees.”

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