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SCOTUS ruling puts Florida health care providers in a bind

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‘Vaccination requirements are a common feature of the provision of healthcare in America,’ the SCOTUS ruling read.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday blocked enforcement on a vaccine mandate requirement for large employers, handing a win to Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republicans who had sharply criticized the move by the Joe Biden administration.

But the court at the same time is keeping in place a rule requiring vaccination of health care workers employed at hospitals and providers that rely on federal funding.

That creates an immediate conflict in Florida where the GOP-controlled Legislature in November passed a law pushed by DeSantis to ban vaccine mandates in the state unless employers offered up a broad range of exemptions. 

DeSantis has loudly decried the vaccine mandates and said the federal government widely exceeded its power when putting them in place. He said repeatedly that no one deserves to lose their job if they refused to get a “jab.”

Christina Pushaw, the press secretary for DeSantis, exulted in the Supreme Court ruling, saying on Twitter that it was a “huge win for workers’ rights; huge blow to the tyranny of the administrative state. The regime was wrong. (DeSantis) was right.”

The decision by the court to block the mandate crafted by federal workplace regulators was widely expected, especially after the round of skeptical questions from justices. Biden’s administration sought to require employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers get vaccinated or tested.

The court ruled 6-to-3 to block the private employer mandate, while the court was split 5-to-4 over whether to allow the health care worker mandate to remain in place.

That slim majority concluded federal health officials had the power to place the mandate on nurses, doctors and others employed at health care providers that rely on Medicare and Medicaid funds from the federal government.

“Of course the vaccine mandate goes further than what the secretary has done in the past to implement infection control,” wrote the court. “But he has never had to address an infection problem of this scale and scope before. In any event, there can be no doubt that addressing infection problems in Medicare and Medicaid facilities is what he does. And his response is not a surprising one. Vaccination requirements are a common feature of the provision of healthcare in America.”

In a follow up post, Pushaw suggested that SCOTUS erred in upholding the CMS mandate. Pushaw wrote on Twitter: “It should be stopped too. I understand the legal framework is different from OSHA, but all regulations should be supported by evidence, and this mandate is not.”

The Thursday rulings don’t end the legal battles over either mandate, but instead centered on whether or not either rule could be enforced during ongoing court challenges.

Florida hospitals and nursing homes that buck the federal CMS rule risk losing billions of dollars in federal health care money. They could be prosecuted by the state Attorney General’s office if they violate the Florida law.

“We’re going to make sure that that is enforced, and we’re going to make sure we’re providing protections for people so that they don’t have their livelihoods ruined by an unconstitutional and really ham-handed federal mandate,” DeSantis said.

Florida Health Care Association Spokesperson Kristen Knapp said skilled nursing facilities are experiencing a “historic labor crisis” and the SCOTUS ruling could exacerbate the situation. The group represents the majority of the state’s 690 nursing homes.

“We are extremely concerned that the court’s decision to allow the CMS mandate to go forward will cause nursing homes to lose even more staff at a time when we are grappling with significant staffing shortages that are impacting access to care,” she said.

___

Renzo Downey contributed to this report


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Joe Biden Website Promises to Ship Four Free Coronavirus Tests to Residents Within 7-12 Days

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The White House announced Tuesday President Joe Biden’s website for Americans to request free coronavirus tests was now live.

Officials said the website, covidtests.gov, was live but still remained in the beta phase of the programming and testing process.

The president expects to officially launch the website on Wednesday as he also plans to hold an official press conference at the White House to mark his upcoming one-year anniversary as president.

Families can request four free coronavirus tests on the website after putting in their name and address.

The government will begin shipping the test within 7-12 days, according to a notice on the website.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged during the daily briefing that the website was live, but only operating in a limited capacity.

“We can’t guarantee there won’t be a bug or two,” she said.

Biden is struggling to catch up on testing, despite being in charge of the pandemic for a year as president.

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Joe Biden replaces the mask he wears. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Many Americans trying to travel and gather with family over the Christmas holiday were unable to get access to tests or faced long waits in line for several hours at testing centers.

Biden was initially defensive about his administration’s performance, scoffing at questions from reporters during a December event on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

“What took so long is it didn’t take long at all,” he said, complaining the omicron variant of the virus caught everyone off guard.

Despite Biden’s efforts to ramp up and increase testing capacity, state governors have called out the federal government for making it harder to get tests for their residents.

“You know, so now it’s sort of hijacking the tests that we already had plans for, and we’re now getting some of those providers to tell us they no longer have the rapid tests,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said in an interview on CBS on Sunday.

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Survey: Global Majority Feel Misled by Media, Business, Political Leaders

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The majority of people across the globe feel that are being misled by journalists, government leaders, and business executives, according to Edelman’s 2022 global “Trust Barometer.”

The survey found that 67 percent of people globally are “convinced” they are being “purposely” misled by journalists and reporters, which is up eight percent from 2021.

Additionally, 66 percent think their country’s government leaders “purposely” mislead them, which has risen nine percent from 2021, while 63 percent said business leaders “purposely” mislead them, which has increased seven percent from 2021.

When respondents were asked about trust,  46 percent said they do not trust journalists, which has risen one percent from last year.

Additionally, 42 percent said they do not trust the county’s government leaders, which has risen one percent from last year. 49 percent said they do not trust CEOs, which has grown one percent from last year.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 08: U.S. President Joe Biden stops to talk to reporters before departing the White House December 08, 2021, in Washington, DC. According to the White House, Biden is traveling to Kansas City, Missouri, to talk about how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will aid in the repair and construction of roads and bridges, update public transit, create jobs, and other benefits.

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 08: U.S. President Joe Biden stops to talk to reporters. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

However, 66 percent of the respondents said they trust their own CEO, which has risen three percent since 2021.

The survey also found that 76 percent “worry about false information or fake news being used as a weapon,” which has risen four percent since last year.

Edelman’s survey had 31,050 respondents globally, spanning 27 countries. The survey was taken between November 1 and 24 of last year and had a margin of error plus or minus 0.6 percent points.

Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Israeli Vaccine Advisor Says Vax Passports Should End, Government ‘Made Mistakes’ During COVID

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‘Rona Madness



 By Jack Hadfield


 January 18, 2022 at 3:51pm


A top Israeli vaccine advisor argued their vaccine passport scheme should be ended, and that the government made serious mistakes with lockdown policies.

Professor Cyrille Cohen, the head of Immunology at Bar Ilan University and a senior vaccine advisor to the Israeli government, spoke to Unherd’s Freddie Sayers in a long form interview about his country’s response to the virus, and what the future was likely to hold.

Despite being a proponent of the COVID-19 vaccines, Cohen noted that “their effectiveness against contamination is reduced” from their original release, adding that he and his fellow scientists were “surprised to discover at the end of the day that the vaccines are not protecting us, are not causing what we call sterilising immunity.”

Recent studies in Israel have confirmed that even a fourth COVID shot is nowhere near as effective against the Omicron variant. “We see many infected with Omicron who received the fourth dose. Granted, a bit less than in the control group, but still a lot of infections,” said Professor Gili Regev-Yochay, a lead researcher in the experiment at Sheba Medical Centre, on Monday.

With Cohen highlighting that natural immunity gives people much better protection “than the vaccine,” and because “there is a very narrow gap between people vaccinated and non-vaccinated, both can get infected with a virus, more or less at the same pace,” the Israeli government’s vaccine passport plan, known as the Green Pass, should be phased out.

Cohen told Sayers that while a Green Pass is not the best way to prevent transmissions, the “political aspects” were clear to begin with, in that it would “encourage” people to get the vaccine. The comments from vaccine advisor echoed that of Israeli ministers caught on a hot mic in September last year, admitting the scheme was not “epidemiologically justified.”

“If you mix politics and immunology or health sciences, at the end of the day you get politics,” Cohen continued, arguing that when discussing and applying policies from the government, “you need to have as many possible voices around you and then make the right decision.”

Reflecting on his role in the Israeli government’s response as one of a number of vaccine advisors, Cohen said that the government made a “few mistakes,” but that the most crucial one was closing down the schools, to which he said he was “extremely” sorry. “Education was the thing we shouldn’t have touched. Never, never,” he added, saying the decision to shut down schools will likely have “some repercussions in the future.”

Looking to the future, Cohen predicted that with the spread of the Omicron variant, COVID-19 would not be eliminated from society, but would become more of a flu-like disease in terms of commonality and spread.

“I think there is going to be bad waves and better waves, with a better immunity at the level of the population, with better vaccines with better treatment,” he said. “In that sense, and I’m extremely cautious, there is a possibility that Omicron will accelerate that transition.”

About the Author:


Jack Hadfield is a conservative and patriot from the UK, and the director and presenter of “Destination Dover: Migrants in the Channel.” His work has appeared in such sites as Breitbart, The Political Insider, and Politicalite. You can follow him on Facebook @JackHadfield1996, on Twitter @JackHadders, on Gab @JH, or on Telegram @JackHadders. Tips can be sent securely to [email protected].

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