Two years of ‘no compromise’ nursing legislation finally scrapped


As the nursing bill was abandoned after being defeated in a re-vote in the National Assembly plenary session on the 30th, the ruling and opposition parties have been criticized for failing to act as ‘mediators’.

It has been argued that the BNP and the Democratic Party of Korea, in pursuit of their own political interests, have exacerbated the conflict in the medical profession rather than reconciling it.

In the absence of mediation efforts by the ruling and opposition parties, efforts to improve the treatment of nurses have stalled.

The ruling and opposition parties began discussions on a nursing law in March 2021.

The bill passed the plenary session of the Health and Welfare Committee in May last year, but was stalled in the Legal Affairs and Judiciary Committee until February.

It was a thoroughly partisan process.

The Democratic Party pushed hard in the Welfare Committee, and the ruling party blocked it with all its might in the Judiciary Committee, whose chairman is Rep. Kim Do-eup of the People’s Power Party.

On Feb. 9, Democratic lawmakers in the Welfare Committee used their majority to send the nursing bill directly to the plenary session.

In the medical community, the Korean Medical Association and the Korean Nursing Association were at odds. The ruling and opposition parties tried to mediate at the last minute but failed to achieve any results.

The main reason is that the medical association and the nursing association ran parallel lines over the phrase “community” in Article 1 of the nursing bill.

The medical association argued that it would give nurses an excuse to open “solo practices” without a doctor, while the nursing association argued that nursing practice should include the concept of care in the community, such as nursing care and home care, rather than in medical institutions.

The ruling and opposition parties스포츠토토 were helpless in the conflict. On the contrary, the level of politics only increased.

The KPA threatened to suggest that President Yoon Seok-yeol exercise his right of reconsideration (veto), and the Democratic Party did not back down, saying that Yoon had promised the nursing association when he was a presidential candidate.

On March 11, two months after the plenary session was adjourned, the KPA proposed a mediation plan to rename the bill as the “Nurse Treatment Act” and remove the phrase “community,” but the nursing association did not accept it. The Democratic Party also stuck to its position.

In the end, the nursing bill passed the plenary session led by the Democratic Party on March 27, and President Yoon vetoed it on March 16, as he had predicted.

The ruling and opposition parties blamed the other party for the veto.

“The Democratic Party has never actively engaged in negotiations on the nursing law, nor has it responded to the mediation proposal,” Jang Dong-hyuk, a spokesman for the People’s Power Party, criticized in a phone call to Kookmin Ilbo.

Kim Han-kyu, a spokesman for the Democratic Party, fired back after the bill was scrapped on March 30, saying, “The nursing law was voted down as Yoon Seok-yeol’s government and the People’s Power wanted.”

If the ruling and opposition parties do not move forward with follow-up legislation, two years of discussions to improve the treatment of nurses will be in vain.

“We are open to discussions,” said a member of the Komeito leadership team, “but do you think the Democratic Party or the nursing association will change their positions quickly?”

A Democratic Party official said, “We will do our best to prepare a bill that the ruling and opposition parties can agree on.”

“The essence of politics is conflict reconciliation and compromise, but the ruling and opposition parties chose a ‘strong-versus-strong’ confrontation of ‘vetoing’ and ‘pushing for votes,’ respectively,” Cho Jin-man, a professor of political science and diplomacy at Deoksung Women’s University, told Kookmin Ilbo, “and in the end, only the people, including nurses, suffered.”

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