Pro-Life Doctor: Obama’s Repealing Conscience Rules Would Hurt Health Care

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 8, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Doctor: Obama’s Repealing Conscience Rules Would Hurt Health Care

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 8
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The public comment period has expired on a proposal from President Barack Obama to repeal Bush administration rules that provide more protections for pro-life doctors. One physician says if Obama follows through on repealing the rules, he will hurt patient’s access to quality health care.

The Obama plan would repeal the Provider Conscience Clause that provides more enforcement for three federal laws that make it so medical professionals and centers are not pressured to participate in abortions.

As the nation begins to grapple with the upcoming heath care reform debate, Dr. Donald Thompson, a member of the Christian Medical Association says repealing the rules would only exacerbate the shortage of doctors the nation is experiencing.

"The Obama administration and lawmakers report being alarmed at the shortage of physicians and other health care professionals," Thompson says.

"Discussions seem to ignore the connection between health care costs, access to care and quality of care. It is very difficult, if not impossible; to simultaneously improve quality, improve access and lower costs," he explains.

"Access to care can be improved by increasing the numbers of physicians (at increased cost), removing administrative and financial barriers (leading to increased costs) and by improving efficiencies at the point of care (could be cost neutral)," Thompson told LifeNews.com in an email.

"The worst step to take would be to drive health care workers out of their current practices of clinical medicine," Thompson says.

"I wonder if the Obama administration realizes that repealing the provider conscience protection regulations could drive thousands of faith-based physicians out of medicine and close faith-based hospitals that provide over 17% of the health care delivered in the United States," Thompson said. "Many of these physicians and hospitals target their care to medically underserved populations."

"Improving access to health care requires being more inclusive of opportunities to keep physicians in the clinical practice of medicine," Thompson explains.

"Repealing these provider conscience protection regulations would be recklessly exclusive, and would ultimately lead to increased costs and rationing of care," he told LifeNews.com. "Physicians must stay involved in health care reform discussions and help our elected leaders understand the consequences of their proposed actions."

Polling data shows Americans agree with Dr. Thompson that the conscience protections should stay in place.

Related web sites:
Christian Medical Association – https://www.cmda.org

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