Judge invalidates conscience protection rule for healthcare workers

A federal judge found the Trump administration's "conscience protection rule" unconstitutional, saving hospitals billions in potential funding cuts and the burden of navigating the rule's overlap with existing laws to prevent patient dumping, Bloomberg reports.

The rule would have allowed healthcare workers to deny care based on their own moral or religious beliefs. Hospitals or clinics would have lost federal funding if they did not allow workers to exempt themselves.

The implementation of the rule had been delayed to Nov. 22 amid pending lawsuits that argued the rule was unconstitutional because it allows for discrimination against women and LGBTQ patients.

A judge from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York said the rule conflicts with workplace discrimination laws and EMTALA, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which requires hospitals to treat emergency patients regardless of ability to pay, according to the report. The judge also ruled the enforcement mechanism — cutting federal funding to hospitals — was overreaching and unconstitutional, according to the report.

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