LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, along with 9 state attorneys general, announced a lawsuit against President Biden, Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and others over an unprecedented federal vaccine mandate on nearly every full-time employee, part-time employee, volunteer, and contractor working at a wide range of healthcare facilities receiving Medicaid or Medicaid funding. The CMS vaccine mandate threatens to worsen the alarming shortage of healthcare workers, particularly in rural communities of Arkansas that already struggle with retention.
“President Biden’s latest unconstitutional overreach will directly impact Arkansas’s healthcare community,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will be the last line of defense against Biden’s reckless overreach. Americans deserve better.”
According to the Arkansas Department of Human Services, there are more than 1,000 unfilled positions at DHS-operated healthcare facilities. CMS’s vaccine mandate will exacerbate this existing worker shortage and put Arkansans’ access to healthcare at risk.
The petition for review challenging President Biden’s CMS directive was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Arkansas is joined in the challenge by the states of Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and New Hampshire.
About Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. Elected on November 4, 2014, and sworn in on January 13, 2015, she is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected as Attorney General. She was resoundingly re-elected on November 6, 2018. Since taking office, she has significantly increased the number of arrests and convictions against online predators who exploit children and con artists who steal taxpayer money through Social Security Disability and Medicaid fraud. Further, she has held Rutledge Roundtable meetings and Mobile Office hours in every county of the State each year, and launched a Military and Veterans Initiative. She has led efforts to roll back government regulations that hurt job creators, fight the opioid epidemic, teach internet safety, combat domestic violence and make the office the top law firm for Arkansans. Rutledge serves on committees for Consumer Protection, Criminal Law and Veterans Affairs for the National Association of Attorneys General. She also served as the former Chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys General Association.
A native of Batesville, she is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Rutledge clerked for the Arkansas Court of Appeals, was Deputy Counsel for former Governor Mike Huckabee, served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and was an Attorney at the Department of Human Services before serving as Counsel at the Republican National Committee. Rutledge and her husband, Boyce, have one daughter. The family has a home in Pulaski County and a farm in Crittenden County.