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TOM BREWER: Vaccine mandates will hurt rural heath care

TOM BREWER: Vaccine mandates will hurt rural heath care

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This past summer, President Biden announced a series of federal vaccine mandates. In July, the first mandate was issued covering federal employees and contractors. The next mandate applied to workers at healthcare facilities receiving Medicare and Medicaid dollars. In early September, the president announced a massive mandate for all employers of more than 100 employees. That final mandate is meant to be enforced by OSHA.

Our constitutional republic has three different branches, each with specific powers. Presidents are not supposed to be in the business of writing laws. We have an elected Congress for producing legislation. These vaccine mandates are not the result of Congress passing a law. They are tyrannical executive actions by the current administration. They are stark examples that clearly show the dangers of a federal takeover of healthcare. They show that past lawmakers have given too much power to unelected bureaucrats.

These federal mandates will cost millions of jobs and hurt countless people. One report showed that five percent of unvaccinated adults have already lost a job over these mandates. I am not anti-vaccination. I have had COVID. I have also been fully vaccinated. That was my decision, and I support the right of other adults to decide for themselves, too. I support the right of parents to use their own judgment to make the best choices for their children. I do not believe the government should be forcing people into unemployment if they do not wish to receive an injection.

My objection to the mandates is also based on the fact that they are going to badly damage healthcare in rural Nebraska. My understanding is that Medicare and Medicaid dollars make up sixty to seventy percent of the revenue at many of our healthcare facilities in District 43. If these mandates are implemented, these facilities will be forced to close or severely limit available services. We cannot afford to lose any healthcare workers or facilities in rural Nebraska.

I was one of twenty-eight senators who signed on to a call for a special session of the Nebraska Legislature on these vaccine mandates. We needed thirty-three senators for the legislature to call the special session. Governor Ricketts did not use his authority to call a special session because he did not see a filibuster-proof coalition coming together in the Legislature to solve the problem.

I am pleased to see that Governor Ricketts and Attorney General Peterson have taken action to protect Nebraskans and all Americans from these unconstitutional mandates. They have joined leaders from many other states in suing the federal government over the healthcare and OSHA mandates in particular. They are already having some success in the courts. The staff at the Attorney General’s office have been working long hours on a tight timeline to make the best legal case against federal overreach and in favor of the individual’s right to refuse unwanted treatment. Nebraskans should be proud of that effort.

Please contact my office with any comments, questions, or concerns. Email me at tbrewer@leg.ne.gov, mail a letter to Sen. Tom Brewer, P.O. Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509, or call us at 402-471-2628.

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