FIRST ON FOX: The GOP Doctors Caucus sent a pair of letters to President Biden and the director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) warning a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers could worsen patient care and healthcare labor shortages.
The congressional caucus of healthcare experts sent letters led by Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., to Biden and CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure warning of the adverse affects a vaccine mandate might have on the healthcare industry.
"We support efforts to encourage Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but these decisions are best left to local leaders, and it is inappropriate to hold Federal dollars hostage," they wrote in their letter to Brooks-LaSure.
"Further, this could have unintended, negative consequences on the quality of patient care and workforce shortages," the congressional doctors warned.
The lawmakers also warned that the American healthcare system already seeing labor shortage pressure on it "will be further – and perhaps catastrophically – strained by an inflexible COVID-19 vaccine mandate forcing frontline health care workers to choose between vaccination and continued employment."
"Given the current state of the pandemic, a mass layoff of health care employees would be detrimental to and undercut our own efforts to combat it," the doctors concluded their letter to Brooks-LaSure.
"Therefore, we urge CMS not to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine for health care facility employees," they continued. "If you do, we strongly urge you to exempt employees who can provide proof of natural immunity and to consider allowing unvaccinated individuals to continue their employment subject to routine COVID-19 testing."
In their letter to Biden, the doctors urged the president to overturn his executive order requiring vaccinations for healthcare workers and "revise the Administration’s policy to provide Federal employees the ability to testout from any vaccination requirement if they can demonstrate natural immunity to the disease," should they go forward with their plan.
"Allowing test-out options for vaccine requirements to include natural immunity is not a novel policy," they wrote. "The European Union has acknowledged that immunity is not solely vaccine-induced and will allow certain travelers who have either recovered from COVID-19 or can provide a recent negative test to hold the same safety certificate as vaccinated individuals."
"In closing, as the Administration directs the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force to issue strict vaccine mandates for Federal employees, we strongly urge you not to move forward with this mandate," the lawmakers concluded in their letter to Biden. "If you do, we ask that you exempt employees who can provide proof of natural immunity and to consider allowing unvaccinated individuals to continue their employment subject to routine COVID-19 testing."
Joining Harris on the letter are several prominent healthcare providers in Congress, including Republican Reps. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa, and Michael Burgess of Texas.
Neither the White House nor CMS immediately responded to Fox News’ requests for comment.
Houston Keene is a reporter for Fox News Digital. You can find him on Twitter at @HoustonKeene.