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Wyoming challenges federal mandate for health care workers

Governor Mark Gordon
Governor Mark Gordon

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KIFI) – Governor Mark Gordon announced Wednesday Wyoming is continuing its challenge of unconstitutional federal vaccine mandates. 

Wednesday’s action follows on other legal challenges over the past two weeks.

Wyoming and a coalition of 10 states filed suit against the Biden Administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rule, which seeks to impose a vaccine mandate on healthcare workers throughout the nation. 

“Wyoming continues to face a significant shortage of healthcare workers and this federal mandate will only exacerbate our healthcare staffing issues,” Governor Gordon said. “This administration needs to understand that overreaching policies that force employees to choose between vaccination and termination negatively impact Wyoming communities, rural healthcare, and residents of skilled nursing facilities.”

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 Medicare funding.”

Wyoming is taking a three-pronged approach to fighting the federal vaccine mandates, filing three separate legal actions to challenge this federal overreach. These include:

  • Filing a lawsuit on October 29th against the Biden Administration for imposing a vaccine mandate on federal contractors and federally contracted employees. Wyoming is currently awaiting a ruling on a request for a temporary injunction in the case. 
  • Filing a second lawsuit to halt the Occupational Safety and Health Administration emergency temporary standard which mandates vaccines on employees of private Wyoming businesses with over 100 employees. 
  • Today’s action, which seeks to prevent the Biden Administration from enforcing the mandate on healthcare workers. 

Addressing what is at stake in the case, today’s 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.”

The lawsuit incorporates nine counts both procedural and substantive in nature. Chief among them are principles the State of Wyoming always seeks to guard against – violations of the Tenth Amendment and federalism.  

The coalition filing the lawsuit is led by Missouri and Nebraska and also includes Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and New Hampshire. 

The full petition can be found here.

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