President Obama mandated visitation rights for  partners of gays and lesbians in hospitals who receive Medicaid and Medicare funding.   Far too often in the past, parents of gays and lesbians held all the power and partners could be prevented from even seeing their signficant other. 

According to the Washington Post:


The president directed the Department of Health and Human Services to prohibit discrimination in hospital visitation in a memo that was e-mailed to reporters Thursday night while he was at a fundraiser in Miami.

Administration officials and gay activists, who have been quietly working together on the issue, said the new rule will affect any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding, a move that covers the vast majority of the nation’s health-care institutions.

It is currently common policy in many hospitals that only those related by blood or marriage be allowed to visit patients.

“Discrimination touches every facet of the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, including at times of crisis and illness, when we need our loved ones with us more than ever,” Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in praising the decision.

Hopefully this right would be extended to any partnership, not just a partnership between gays.  Straight people have unconventional relationships also.  However, this is a good place to start.

17 Thoughts to “Obama Mandated Visitation Rights in Hospitals to Partners of Gays”

  1. Hey, that’s great news! And yes, all partners should have that right unless they are known abusers or something like that…in which case, there might be a restraining order or something out there anyway.

  2. Censored bybvbl

    This was a much needed change. In addition to visitation rights, an adult’s chosen partner should certainly have more say than an estranged sibling or a parent in a patient’s treatment. Hopefully, everyone would be in agreement, but when not, the chosen partner should decide – if the patient hasn’t expressed his/her wishes and, as Pinko said, there is no abuse in that relationship. Certainly, Bob Marshall shouldn’t bedside!

  3. Censored bybvbl

    “be bedside” ^

  4. Don't be fooled

    Obama is simply pandering to the right.
    He does not support same sex marriage, so he is going to piecemeal rights together for same sex couples.
    Once enough rights are given, the argument that same sex marriage is not necessary will be made stronger. (“They already have the same rights, why do they need the word marriage?” Sound familiar?)
    Separate but equal.
    He should just end DOMA now and be done with it.

  5. Help us out here. What is DOMA?

  6. Emma

    People should be able to designate anyone they please to visit them and make medical decisions for them when they are incapacitated. I don’t see this as a gay-rights issue, but simply as a patient-autonomy issue.

    That being said, since when do we have legislation by email memo?

  7. marinm

    Agreed with Emma. For the most part I agree with this legislation – however I understand how it had the potential to irk off the largest provider of healthcare services to the poor in our nation – the Catholic Church. So, we’ll see how that part plays out. But, I have no issue with someone designating an animal a fish or a human to being able to visit them in the hospital.

    Emma, it’s called ‘Rule by Monarch Edict’. 😉

  8. Emma

    It’s deja-vu all over again, marinm!

  9. kelly3406

    It amazes me that Ken Cuccinelli was roundly criticized for involving himself in the hiring policies of PUBLIC universities, but no one seems to think twice about Obama involving himself in policies of individual hospitals. It is only culture war when a conservative is involved. When a lib takes similar actions, his motives are pure and the action is required to right some horrendous injustice.

  10. Visitor

    The part that’s funny is for years people have always said “it’s not special treatment for gays” but now you get special treatment if you are unmarried and gay versus unmarried and straight.

    If Obama is so committed to equality, why didn’t he fix it for everybody? This is all about rewarding a group that gives a lot of money to the Democrats.

    1. I don’t know that he didn’t fix it for everyone.

      Right now domestic partners pay taxes on health care and other benefits for their significant other. That needs fixing too.

  11. Emma

    Visitor :
    If Obama is so committed to equality, why didn’t he fix it for everybody?

    So does this new edict require that gay patients come out of the closet in order to claim their special rights that are apparently not going to be extended to unmarried, straight people?

    Talk about unintended consequences.

    1. Sort of hard to test that theory.

  12. Emma

    How much of this really is an issue? I’ve visited friends in the hospital before where the nurse would immediately start updating me on the person’s status without even questioning the relationship. If you walk up to a nurses’ station, act like you belong there and start asking questions, you’ll get answers. Rooms are often crowded with several visitors at a time who stay long after visiting hours are over. There might be a little more control in the ICU, but if you walk in like you own the place, you are rarely questioned. Hospital security is often a joke.

    This is just more pandering grandstanding with these ridiculously incremental “rights” that everyone should have anyway.

  13. @Don’t be fooled

    Obama is NOT pandering to the right. How is this supposed to be pandering to the right? I see your logic, but, it doesn’t track. If the right was generally opposed to “gay rights”, then they would oppose this.

    Here’s the problem expressed by a writer better than myself: Dan McLaughlin of RedState:

    (1) The President of the United States, without any Congressional authorization on the subject, is unilaterally announcing a policy that will affect the day-to-day ground-level operations of every hospital in the nation.

    (2) The federal government is dictating national policy on a divisive social issue having nothing to do with any expenditure of federal money or any federal program, simply by virtue of the leverage created by the financial dependence of hospitals on the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

    All of which vividly illustrates exactly what conservatives have long warned about with regard to the expansion of federal programs in general and health care in particular, which touches on so many of the most intimate relationships and events in life: once Uncle Sam is footing too much of the bill to say no to him, he’ll start deciding to make federal rules about everything.

    If you want to know why the conservatives and Tea Party movement (not necessarily the same thing) are so opposed to many federal programs such as ObamaCare, then read that link. He puts it perfectly. The federal government, once it spends money, links that money to the ability to interfere in anything.

    Don’t get me wrong. I feel that any adult to be able to declare any other adult “family” or “kin” and have any adult they wish visit them in a hospital. Any person that can prove that they are in a relationship with a patient should be allowed to visit.

    If they are serious, any couple, straight or gay, should have powers of attorney and medical directive made for each other.

  14. Don't be fooled

    Defense of Marriage Act.
    Allows states and federal government to not recognize same sex marriaeg.

  15. Don't be fooled

    Defense of marraige Act.

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