CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey held a press conference to provide updates on the office’s ongoing fight against federal overreach, specifically discussing how he and a coalition of 11 other states succeeded in stopping additional vaccine mandates proposed by the Biden Administration late last month and what that means for the nation going forward.
On Monday, the Attorney General applauded the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana’s willingness to stop the administration’s vaccine mandate for health care workers, which would have burdened the health care sector and patient well-being in West Virginia and around the nation.
“This is a tremendous victory for West Virginia and our entire country, and we are extremely grateful for the Court’s willingness to grant this injunction,” Attorney General Morrisey said, “given the insurmountable burdens that President Biden’s mandates impose on health care, our coalition is pleased the court understood that our position was the correct one, especially for individual freedoms for health care workers.”
“We hope this decision sends a clear message about mandates,” Morrisey added, “I am supportive of anyone who gets the COVID vaccine, but I do not support federal mandates, and I will fight them with every means I have. I’ve had a bad case of COVID and can attest to the seriousness of this virus, but we must persuade and educate, not mandate.”
The federal district court agreed that the state coalition was likely to succeed on most of its claims. The coalition has argued that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) vaccine mandate on facilities that receive federal funding for treating patients exceeds the agency’s statutory authority and violates the Social Security Act’s prohibition on regulations that control the hiring and firing of health care workers. It also violates multiple federal laws, clauses and doctrines and the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
More gravely, the Biden administration’s mandate threatens the well-being of people who rely on services provided by the federal health care programs and the livelihoods of the people who provide that care. In addition to these serious harms, the district court’s decision recognized that the states would suffer serious harm from having their own laws preempted and their state powers encroached.
The lawsuit notes that the vaccine mandate causes grave danger to vulnerable persons whom Medicare and Medicaid were designed to protect – the poor, sick, and elderly – by forcing the firing of “healthcare heroes” who are essential to providing vital medical services.
According to CMS, the vaccine mandate targets about a quarter of the nation’s health care workers who have chosen not to get vaccinated.