Vern Buchanan Leads House Republicans Against Vaccine Mandate for Medicare, Medicaid Providers

This week, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Larry Buchson, R-Ind., rounded up more than 100 congressional Republicans to urge Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to drop its vaccine mandate for service providers in the health-care industry.

At the end of last week, after two judges ruled against the mandate, CMS suspended its effort which it first announced last month.

“The emergency regulation issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today protects those fighting this virus on the front lines while also delivering assurances to individuals and their families that they will be protected when seeking care,” CMS noted when it announced the mandate.

“Ensuring patient safety and protection from COVID-19 has been the focus of our efforts in combating the pandemic and the constantly evolving challenges we’re seeing,” said Brooks-LaSure. “Today’s action addresses the risk of unvaccinated health care staff to patient safety and provides stability and uniformity across the nation’s health care system to strengthen the health of people and the providers who care for them.”

But critics took aim at several parts of the mandate.

“CMS’s vaccine mandate, issued in November, requires health care workers whose employers participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs be fully vaccinated by January 4. There are approximately 76,000 providers that employ over 17 million health care workers that would be required to comply with the mandate. Many of America’s physicians also operate as small businesses and would be required to comply with these new rules and regulations, the same as large hospitals,” Buchanan’s office noted.

“Ensuring continuity of quality care should be the primary goal for CMS, especially during this period of stress and uncertainty for patients and providers,” said Buchanan. “This mandate could eviscerate the size and strength of our health care system and lead to unintended consequences for America’s seniors, many of whom rely on Medicare as their only option for health care coverage.”

Several Florida Republicans signed the letter including U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Kat Cammack, Mario Diaz-Balart, Byron Donalds, Neal Dunn, Scott Franklin, Brian Mast, Bill Posey, John Rutherford, Michael Waltz and Dan Webster.

Kevin Derby
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