Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) rule requiring vaccination for healthcare workers at facilities participating in CMS programs to take effect. Separately, the Court blocked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) standard that large employers require their employees to be vaccinated or test for COVID-19 weekly.

In December, Democracy Forward filed three separate amicus briefs on behalf of the nation’s leading associations representing medical professionals, patients, and the public health across disciplines. The briefs urged the Court to preserve the CMS and OSHA standards. 

The Court cited the groups’ brief in its opinion allowing the CMS rule to take effect, writing: “All this is perhaps why healthcare workers and public health organizations overwhelmingly support the Secretary’s rule. …. Indeed, their support suggests that a vaccination requirement under these circumstances is a straightforward and predictable example of the ‘health and safety’ regulations that Congress has authorized the Secretary to impose.”

Following today’s rulings, Democracy Forward President and CEO Skye Perryman issued the following statement:

“Today the Supreme Court recognized—as our briefs on behalf of the nation’s leading associations representing medical professionals, patients, and the public health across disciplines explained—that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ vaccine requirement is in the public interest. We commend the Court for listening to medical professionals and permitting the vaccine standard in healthcare settings to take effect. 

It is disappointing, however, that common-sense, evidence-based protections for U.S. workers—also supported by the nation’s medical community—are being paused for large employers. Our nation is fighting a battle against an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, as well as rising death and record-breaking hospitalization rates—a battle that can be won only with widespread vaccination. A large proportion of our nation’s workforce is regularly exposed to COVID-19 at work. The Court’s decision to halt the OSHA standard from taking effect in a timely manner denies workers critical health and safety protections. 

We are honored to have communicated to the Court on behalf of the nation’s medical and public health community the need for immediate, widespread standards to protect the health and safety of workers, patients, and families across the country. We will continue to ensure that courts have access to science, evidence, and the experience of leading medical and health professionals.”

Follow Democracy Forward’s work to protect the health of our nation during the pandemic here.

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Democracy Forward Foundation (“Democracy Forward”)  is a nonprofit legal organization founded in 2017 that litigates cases involving government action on behalf of organizations, individuals, and municipalities. The organization has taken 650 legal actions and achieved victories supporting democracy and improving the lives and wellbeing of people and communities. Democracy Forward Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  

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