FILE - IU Health Methodist Hospital

IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis

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(The Center Square) – A federal judge in Louisiana stopped the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate on health care workers late Tuesday afternoon, granting the request for a preliminary injunction filed by several states, including Indiana.

The injunction, the judge said in the order, applies nationwide, except to the 10 states where an injunction was already granted by a federal judge in Missouri on Monday.

“A tremendous win for liberty for the people of Indiana and across the country,” Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said in a statement Tuesday evening.

The injunction, granted by Judge Terry Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, will remain in place pending the outcome of the case.

Indiana had joined with Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia in filing the federal suit challenging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulation, which required all employees of hospitals and other healthcare providers that accept Medicare or Medicaid get the COVID-19 vaccine. This included almost all hospitals in the state, and many other clinics and doctors’ offices as well.

In the suit filed Nov. 15, Indiana and the other states argue the Social Security Act, which created the Medicare and Medicaid programs, focuses on patients and improving access to health care services for low-income and older Americans.

“By forcing a significant number of health care workers to take the shot(s) or exit the Medicare and Medicaid workforce, CMS’s Vaccine Mandate harms access to (and thus quality of) patient care,” the states said in the complaint.

The vaccine mandate, they argued, “causes grave danger to vulnerable persons whom Medicare and Medicaid were designed to protect – the poor, children, sick, and the elderly – by forcing termination of millions of essential ‘healthcare heroes.’”

The mandate also has several other “fatal flaws,” the states argue, saying it's arbitrary and capricious, exceeds CMS’s authority under the law, violates the Social Security Act’s prohibition on regulations that control the selection and tenure of healthcare workers, violates the Spending Clause, the Anti-Commandeering doctrine and the Tenth Amendment, and said that in issuing the regulation, the Biden administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act by not following the process of providing notice of the regulation and allowing public comment.

Several hospitals began imposing their own vaccine mandates on employees before the federal mandates were announced and issued this fall. They include IU Health, which announced its mandate in early June, and Ascension St. Vincent Hospital, which announced its mandate in late July.

Hundreds of nurses and other healthcare workers were suspended without pay as hospitals began to comply with the federal mandate. They were facing termination on Jan. 4 if they've not been vaccinated or had an exemption approved by that date.

Indiana is a plaintiff in three separate lawsuits challenging federal vaccine mandates, one dealing with federal contractors and the other with employers with 100 or more employees.

After Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling calling the OSHA rule “fatally flawed” in a case brought by another group of states, the Biden administration withdrew the rule dealing with 100 or more employees.

On Tuesday afternoon, a federal judge in Kentucky issued an injunction in a suit challenging the federal contractor rule.

This article originally ran on thecentersquare.com.

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