Debate:Is the Bush administration's Conscience Rule a step forward or backward for U.S. Healthcare?

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It's a Step Forward

Health clarified as it was always understood, guided by ethics. Modern-enlightened medicine is a falsehood.--jpatt 13:14, 20 December 2008 (EST)

Ethics are important, more in health care than any other profession I could imagine. However, patients have a right to receive treatment that is legal, and if a doctor prescribes something legal, it is wrong for a pharmacist to interject himself or herself between the doctor-patient relationship because they object to the nature of the prescription. This is just a poor, back-door attempt to allow a minority of practicioners to impose their personal beliefs on others. If there was any real belief that the majority of Americans want this to be our national policy, then it would have been proposed as law during the six years when Bush had a Republican majority in Congress to support him. Medical ethics notwithstanding, it smacks of hypocrisy for conservatives who believe that government should not be telling employers they have to accept employees who refuse to do the legal job they're being paid to do. --DinsdaleP 13:36, 20 December 2008 (EST)

It's a Step Backward

This rule is a step backwards on several levels, which is why it was implemented as an 11th hour policy change by the Bush administration instead of being introduced and openly debated earlier on. The main objection is that the definition of "sincere religious belief or moral conviction" is too vague, and allows for all kinds of unintended consequences. While the supporters of the rule see it as a tool to allow healthcare providers to refrain from offering legal services like birth control and abortion, the vagueness of the rule would also allow life-supporting treatment to be withheld from if the provider morally supported "death with dignity". It might even allow someone to defend withholding fertility treatment from an interracial couple if the provider considered such relationship immoral. This ambiguity has the potential to flood the courts with litigation related to sorting out what is or isn't a legitimate moral objection, which is likely to increase malpractice insurance rates, which in turn would increase healthcare costs for everyone.

This rule is a step backwards because it directly interferes between the doctor-patient relationships in this country. If a person obtains a prescription for a legal medication, he or she has a right to obtain it from a pharmacy without having to pass one or more personal-morals tests from the pharmacy staff. If no area pharmacy would fill an otherwise-legal prescription, then patient choice and the right to treatment is removed. It could also prevent rape victims from receiving anti-conception medications within the limited time window they are effective - are the morally offended providers going to help support the rape victim's child-rearing costs, or is that "not their problem" despite their conscious involvement in a pregnancy taking place?

This rule also goes against the conservative principle of less government interference with legal free enterprise. A pharmacy owner would be obligated under this rule to hire or retain employees who personally refuse to provide legal prescriptions. A prospective employee could claim they would fill all prescriptions to get a job, then say they've "had a moral change of heart" they day after being hired, and the business owner is helpless to do anything about it. Forcing business owners to retain employees who refuse to provide legal services related to the job is not good for U.S. business, is in opposition to conservative economic philosophy, and will set U.S. healthcare backwards accordingly. --DinsdaleP 12:04, 20 December 2008 (EST)


While I support the right of healthcare providers not to provide care which they find morally objectionable, I believe that they have a responsibility to seek employment at a facility that won't require them to do so. A sincere pro-life physician should not, for example, seek employment at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
I am adamantly opposed to anti-free-market interventions which dictate that an employer must hire or retain an employee. The market is capable of making those determinations; a pharmacy that chooses to accomodate pro-life and conservative beliefs will have the benefit of business from pro-life customers, whereas a pharmacy that chooses to terminate employees with such beliefs will not. That should be sufficient pressure without the government intervening. --Benp 13:54, 20 December 2008 (EST)
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