Testimony: Abolishing the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers
Testimony in Support of LD 172: “An Act to Allow Health Care Workers to Return to Work by Reinstating Exemptions from Immunization Requirements”
Senator Baldacci, Representative Meyer, and the distinguished members of the Committee on Health and Human Services, my name is Nick Murray and I serve as director of policy for Maine Policy Institute. We are a free market think tank, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that advocates for individual liberty and economic freedom in Maine. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on LD 172.
The wave of COVID-19 vaccine mandate policies which swept the United States in 2021, whether on the federal, state, or local level, were each grave injustices. Politicians and so-called public health experts coerced Americans to take brand new medical products, without long-term data on safety or even efficacy against viral transmission. With these acts, they betrayed the public trust. They will go down in history as some of the most ignorant and destructive domestic policies in decades.
We understand that Representative Boyer has submitted substitute bill language which would simply strike COVID-19 from the list of required immunizations for employees in healthcare settings under DHHS rules.
LD 172 would restore the jobs of nurses, aides, and other administrative, non-patient-facing workers fired after Governor Mills mandated that employees of healthcare systems take the new vaccines for fall 2021. Just after Mills’ mandate went into effect, Central Maine Medical Center announced that it would be cutting back services, even closing entire units.
These issues persist today. Maine Health Care Association, a group which represents more than 200 long term care facilities, published a survey of its membership in Spring 2022 which noted that about 41% are “very concerned” about their workforce, and 44% report being at “crisis level” staffing.
This bill should be a critical priority for this Legislature. The governor is unwilling to admit the truth: that her mandate did nothing to affect COVID-19 transmission. It only weakened the state’s healthcare system in a time of crisis.
As health care systems across Maine continue to complain of persistent staffing shortages, Rep. Boyer’s bill would help increase access to care and provide some downward pressure on health care costs in Maine (which are already $1,000 more than the national average) by increasing the supply of available providers.
Please deem LD 172 “Ought To Pass.” It is the least that this Legislature or the state government can do to apologize to thousands of hard-working Maine professionals, and attempt to right some of the injustices of the last few years. Thank you for your time and consideration.