EXPLAINER - What happens if the high court ignores COVID mandate?

WASHINGTON (AP), -- Oral arguments will be heard by the Supreme Court Jan. 7, on whether the Biden administration has authority to order private sector workers and health care workers to get COVID-19 vaccinations. Millions of workers will have to comply with a variety of requirements, depending on their location.

EXPLAINER - What happens if the high court ignores COVID mandate?


 

HOW DO WE GET TO THIS POINT???

A rule issued by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (November 5) requires that all employees working in businesses of 100 or more must be vaccinated. If they are not, they must be tested every week and be wearing masks. For those who work mostly outdoors or alone, there are exceptions.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a rule on the same day requiring a wide variety of health care providers who are eligible for federal Medicare or Medicaid funding, to receive the first vaccine dose in this month and be fully vaccinated by January 4.

This rule is expected to impact more than 17,000,000 workers in approximately 76,000 health care facilities and home health care providers.

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WHY IS THE SUPREME CREDIT COURT COMING IN?

Because the rules were challenged by more than two dozen Republican-led States, conservative and business groups as well as individual businesses who opposed the vaccination mandates, the court is now intervening. These challenges led to contradictory rulings from several federal circuit and district courts.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati consists of a three-judge panel. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled 2-1 that the vaccine-or test requirement for workers of companies with more than 100 employees could be implemented. Multiple legal challenges to OSHA's rule were originally filed in U.S. appeals courts.

Following a random draw using ping-pong balls, the cases were combined with the 6th Circuit. This is a procedure used when federal agency actions are challenged in multiple courts. This requirement could have an impact on approximately 84 million U.S. employees.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, New Orleans, made the decision in the case involving health care employees. Circuit Court of Appeals maintained a preliminary injunction for 14 states. This was in addition to an earlier ruling of a federal district judge who applied the order nationally. An additional preliminary injunction was issued on appeal to the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also applied for 10 additional states. This means that the Medicare and Medicaid vaccine requirements are blocked by courts in approximately half of the states, but not the other half.

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IS THE SUPREME CREDIT COURT HEARING MANDATES SET ON HOLD?

The court hearing will not put the mandates on hold unless the court moves quickly and reverses the 6th Circuit ruling and expands the preliminary injunctions from the 5th, 8th circuits to all the states.

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WHAT'S NEXT?

OSHA has announced that the mandate for vaccinations will take effect January 10. February 9th is the deadline for testing. Feb. 9 is the deadline for testing.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' guidance states that non-compliance by hospitals and "certain other urgent and continuing care provider" could result in the termination of the Medicare or Medicaid programs. However, this would only happen after a facility has had the opportunity to correct and become compliant.

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