Compromise, not confrontation, please

Home > Opinion > Editorials

print dictionary print

Compromise, not confrontation, please

After the Democratic Party (DP) unilaterally passed the controversial Nursing Act through the plenary session of the National Assembly on Thursday, concerns are growing about a vacuum in the medical field. 13 vocational groups representing the medical society, including the Korean Medical Association (KMA) and the Korean Licensed Practical Nurses Association (Klpna), have declared to launch a general strike to oppose the DP’s move.

After the People Power Party (PPP) vowed to ask President Yoon Suk Yeol to veto the bill, the DP pledged to resubmit it to a full session. The alarming developments portend another standoff between the two parties. The Nursing Act is also expected to go through the vicious cycle of the majority opposition’s passage of a contentious bill followed by a presidential veto, a revote, and an eventual vote-down.

The head-on battle among political circles is being fueled by the deep-rooted conflict among medical professions and the DP’s populist strategy to win the next parliamentary elections. Contentious bills demand sufficient discussions among stakeholders. But the DP and PPP had been sitting on their hands over the past two years since the bill was proposed in 2021.

On Thursday, the DP also placed two contentious bills — aimed at appointing a special prosecutor to look into bribery cases involving the PPP and investigating allegations against the first lady over her possible stock price manipulation — on the fast track. The DP also submitted two other controversial revisions to the Broadcasting Act and the Labor Management Act to the plenary session.

The party’s attempt to provoke a presidential veto to help win more votes in the legislative elections cannot avoid public criticism. The medical community is no exception. The poor working environments for nurses, as evidenced by their low pay and high turnover rate, call for immediate improvement. The Korean Nurses Association (KNA) wants to address the problem by separating the Nursing Act from the comprehensive Medical Service Act.

But an independent law for nurses alone can hardly help improve their poor working conditions or violations of human rights, not to mention excluding their subordinates represented by the Klpna. The KMA also cannot avoid criticism. Doctors claim that if the Nursing Act goes into effect, nurses can open their own clinics. But that’s not convincing.

The biggest victim of the medical community confrontation and the piling on of opposition bills is the citizens. If their livelihood is threatened by the standoff, that’s a national crisis. We urge the stakeholders to return to their senses and strike a compromise before it’s too late.
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)