Following the Supreme Court’s decision to reject a lawsuit challenging its mandate, a broad coalition of states have filed lawsuits to overturn the requirements. But those lawsuits won’t keep the mandate from being enforced. It’s a federal law and isn’t subject to state law, they argue.
Though there are many nuances to be digested in this story, here’s the big takeaway: the mandate to vaccinate health care workers is about health, not ideology. Those who argue it’s about ideology are incorrect.
Here’s a little backstory
Whether it’s four other states or the federal government, attorneys general across the country are not happy with the Supreme Court’s decision last week not to weigh in on the constitutionality of the mandate requiring health care workers to be vaccinated. More specifically, they are not happy that the requirement is unconstitutionally broad, they say. It’s a mandate on an entire class of people — health care workers. Many believe the mandate is an overbroad health care regulation.
It’s difficult to know exactly why these states are unhappy with the mandate. As is often the case with attorneys general, you have to look more closely to understand their reasoning.
They think the mandate should not apply to certain categories of workers, such as janitors, first responders and pilots — and how to narrow the definition. They don’t believe you should have to be a state resident, even temporarily, in order to be exempted.
They think the definition of who is covered by the mandate is unconstitutionally broad. They point to older people who are too sick to work as contractors and should not be considered state residents, and believe the mandate makes it harder for kids to be vaccinated. They question the constitutionality of the rule because it prohibits a group from opting out of health care regulation. (Remember, this is a health care mandate.) They claim it’s a regulation that crosses the constitutional line.
State AGs: health, not ideology
Of course, it may be a bit of a stretch to think that state attorneys general — or any health care providers — might believe health care workers are not committed to fighting a health problem. Of course, they do. They have an interest in making the industry more effective at fighting communicable diseases. But as the statement from the attorneys general of the 31 states in the American Academy of Pediatrics states, “Public health involves reaching diverse groups of people across society, including those who are not in contact with children, chronic ill persons, and members of families with special needs.”
They believe the definition of who is covered is unconstitutionally broad.
What this case is about