Reports have surfaced that President Joe Biden is overturning the previous administration’s rule recognizing the rights of health-care workers to decline to perform procedures based on conscience concerns. Should affected medical professionals want to keep their jobs and licenses, they would be forced to perform medical procedures they find morally repugnant. The potential SCOTUS ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson only solidifies the division in our country on topics of medical ethics. How will this affect Americans?
One out of five medical professionals recently surveyed said they were considering leaving their practice in the next two years, and the U.S. health-care sector is already facing significant labor shortages. The Department of Labor (DOL) does a monthly job vacancy survey to help understand where the American labor market is lacking workers. The number of open health-care jobs has been on the rise over the last 10 years but skyrocketed during the last year.
In January 2020 (pre-lockdowns), there were 1.2 million openings for health-care jobs. In January 2021 (pre-vaccine mandate), this number remained stable at about 1.2 million. After the vaccine mandate and the subsequent Supreme Court ruling upholding the mandate for medical professionals, this number exploded. In January 2022, the number of open positions in the medical sector was just under 2 million, a roughly 66 percent increase in unfilled, open positions in one year.
Blue States Especially Bleeding Health Workers
This problem is most acute in “blue” areas of our country. Last year a hospital in New York had to stop delivering babies for a couple of weeks because too many nurses quit when the vaccine mandate hit. Other hospitals in New York reported such severe nursing shortages that the patient-to-nurse ratio has reached 30 to 1 in some areas.
At RedBalloon.work, my company that seeks to connect jobs with like-minded job seekers, nurses with significant experience have applied for and received jobs that required moves to states like Florida and Texas. Conversations with these people reveal they are looking for freedom and willing to sacrifice for it.
One Boston nurse said, “I have been a nurse for more than half of my life, and a year ago, I was the hero. Strangers on the street would thank me when they saw me in scrubs. I love helping people. Then when I had questions about the hospitals’ Covid policies, I was shown the door. I am ready to change careers.”
Amidst this medical labor shortage, exacerbated by authoritarian Covid policies, the White House is looking to make the problem worse. The right of conscience is one of our most fundamental rights, but this president aims to strip away the freedom to exercise moral choices for some of the most well-trained, experienced, and knowledgeable Americans in the medical field and effectively drive them out of the labor market.
Conversations with doctors about what options medical professionals might have under this policy have proved alarming. Based on results in other countries that have implemented similar policies, one doctor predicted that conscientious professionals will leave the medical field. The Hippocratic oath does not allow for murder and mayhem. Other doctors are already planning to move to “red” states where they will not be forced to perform procedures that are against their consciences.
An Opportunity for Freedom-Minded Work
One of these professionals, Dr. Rod Story, had to make such a decision. He was faced with aiding transgender surgeries or losing his job at a hospital in the state of Washington. He made the painful decision to walk away from a job he loved for conscience’s sake and now runs his own thriving direct care practice in Idaho.
“If doctors lose the right to use their conscience to decide what procedures to do or not, they will miss a big part of what it is to be human; this de-humanizes physicians,” Story said of the Biden administration’s proposed rollback of conscience protections. “All human decisions are moral decisions, and doctors must be allowed to follow the conscience that God put in all of us.”
We are observing the beginning of this medical labor exodus here at RedBalloon.work. One of our employers, a doctor’s office, posted a job opening for a physician without a vaccine requirement and had a dozen applicants in a week. Most of these applicants were from “blue” states and were eager to move.
Another employer, who recruits nurses, has been placing nurses with decades of experience in new hospitals or care positions that do not require vaccination. The employer has been shocked by the quality of nurses willing to leave careers and home states in the name of freedom. We anticipate this trend accelerating if this rule is enforced because many who begrudgingly accepted a vaccine will not consent to actively harming or destroying another life.
The federal rule will also drive creativity among conservatives. Not all facilities offer every medical procedure, such as elective mastectomies or genital mutilation for people who want to look like the other sex. Many states are passing laws restricting abortion, so doctors in those states will be less likely to face the moral dilemma the rule would create.
Based on data and numerous conversations with employers and job seekers, we see this proposed policy producing opposite results for different regions. Conservative states and regions will continue to see an influx of highly talented and conscientious workers looking for freedom.
Because many of those workers will be coming from left-wing states and regions, staffing shortages will grow more pronounced and will likely impact levels of available care in the losing states. Those who stay in their careers in left-leaning areas will be part of the growing alternative economy that flies under the radar of government overreach and control.