FILE – In this May 31, 2018, file photo, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes speaks during a news conference, in Salt Lake City. New candidates are joining the race for Utah Attorney General, including a high-profile defense attorney and a reform-minded county prosecutor. Defense attorney and former prosecutor Greg Skordas announced his candidacy Tuesday, March 17, 2020, days after Utah County Attorney David Leavitt said he would challenge Republican Reyes for the job. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY – In a new lawsuit focusing on the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and 11 other state attorneys general asked a federal court to stop the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. They argue that as with the policy for Federal Contractor Employees and Employers of 100 people or more, the mandate threatens to further burden the health care sector and patient well-being in Utah, where a large percentage of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are already facing worker shortages.

The 12-state coalition filed the lawsuit and request for a preliminary injunction Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for Western District of Louisiana.

Attorney General Reyes said “the Biden Administration continues its unwise and unconstitutional attempt to solve the COVID-19 pandemic into uncharted areas of the law and trampling individual rights. Not only is this action illegal, but it would force a significant number of healthcare workers to take the vaccine or exit the Medicare and Medicaid workforce.”

The complaint read that the vaccine mandate causes danger to vulnerable persons whom Medicare and Medicaid were designed to protect – the poor, sick, and elderly – by forcing the termination of millions of healthcare workers who are essential to providing healthcare services.

More than 45 percent of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Utah are suffering from staff shortages, according to the AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard. More than 25 percent have chosen to remain unvaccinated, meaning the Biden mandate could make the healthcare workforce shortage much worse.

The complaint states the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate violates the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by seeking “to commandeer state-employee surveyors to become enforcers of CMS’s unlawful attempt to federalize national vaccine policy and override the States’ police power on matters of health and safety.”

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