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Supreme Court is hearing arguments on Biden's vaccine rules for health workers and businesses

J. Scott Applewhite

The Supreme Court is taking up two major Biden administration policies today covering vaccine requirements for millions of workers, policies that affect large employers and health care workers.

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, the Biden administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer, wrote that both rules are needed to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and deaths.

Challengers to the rules argue that they exceed the administration’s authority. They also say the rules will exacerbate labor shortages and be costly to businesses.

The Supreme Court agreed to take up the business rule after a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled 2-1 last month that the vaccine or testing regime for workers at companies with 100 or more employees could take effect.

The plan requires workers at larger companies to be vaccinated or wear face masks and get tested weekly. The requirement could affect some 84 million U.S. workers.

The high court also will hear arguments over a rule published Nov. 5 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid that applies to a wide range of health care providers that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid funding. It was projected to affect more than 17 million workers in about 76,000 health care facilities as well as home health care providers.

Decisions by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as well as a federal judge in Texas have the mandate blocked in about half of states.

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