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Attorney General Peterson’s Response to Nebraskans’ Concerns about Federal Vaccine Mandates

Second, the federal government has indicated it will require most healthcare facilities that receive Medicaid or Medicare reimbursement to vaccinate all their employees. Unlike the OSHA rule, this mandate is not expected to include the option for regular testing instead of vaccination. This healthcare mandate is concerning because states like Nebraska are already experiencing a shortage of healthcare workers, and hospitals and nursing homes are already reporting that they will lose a substantial number of employees if this mandate goes into effect. As with the OSHA rule, this new Medicaid rule has yet to be released. But once it is, many interested parties, including states like Nebraska, will review it to determine whether legal action is appropriate.

Third, the Biden administration has declared it is mandating vaccines for employees of companies that contract with the federal government. Unlike the other two mandates, the guidelines for the federal contractor mandate have been released. Those guidelines indicate that after December 8, 2021, the employers covered by this mandate must ensure that their employees are fully vaccinated by the first day of performance under a newly awarded federal contract or an extended or renewed federal contract. Various groups, including states like Nebraska, are evaluating whether the federal government has the legal authority to invoke vaccine mandates as a condition to its federal contracts with private parties.