On Thursday, U.S. health regulators asked the Supreme Court to reinstate the requirement that certain vaccines be made available to employees of large-scale employers.
President Barack Obama signed the mandate into law in 2009. It applied to businesses that employed 75 or more people. The Court struck it down in December.
The mandate on large employers was made much easier to put into place thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the health care law passed by Mr. Obama in 2010. Employers who refused to provide the vaccine were subject to fines.
The problem with the court’s December decision came down to the definition of “employee” in the law. Under the mandate, “an employee means any person whose job responsibility involves directly controlling or supervising the performance of work within the scope of employment, including managers of a business enterprise,” according to the Court’s decision.
The federal appeals court in Boston had interpreted this to mean an employee of any job who hired a new hire — which the Obama administration argued was being a manager of a company.
The administration asked the justices to reinstate the mandate. The question they have left to consider is whether the administration’s interpretation of the law gives its workers the freedom to make healthy decisions.
The National Rifle Association, which strongly opposes government regulation of the content of people’s speech, has threatened to sue the administration if the Court rules that employees have a right to have vaccines made available.