Barack Obama | Health | News

Obama Orders Hospitals to Grant Same-Sex Couples Visitation Rights and Medical Power of Attorney

Very interesting, significant, and a long time coming.

READ the memorandum HERE.

The Washington Post reports:Obama  

"President Obama on Thursday signed a memorandum requiring hospitals to allow gays and lesbians to have non-family visitors and to grant their partners medical power of attorney. The president ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to prohibit discrimination in hospital visitation. The memo is scheduled to be made public Friday morning, according to an administration official and another source familiar with the White House decision. An official said the new rule will affect any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding."

The paper notes: "The decision injects the president squarely into the debate over gay marriage by attempting to end the common practice by many hospitals of insisting that only family members by blood or marriage be allowed to visit patients."

HOWEVER, the memo closes (READ IT HERE) : "This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person."

Still, a powerful step in the right direction. Let's hope it's not (as I fear it might be) strategically timed to try to quash disappointment over stalling, inaction, and/or loss on some of the larger and more comprehensive issues that are pending in our legislature, like ENDA and DADT.

From the NYT: "Richard Socarides, who advised President Bill Clinton on gay rights issues, said that while the memorandum on its own does not grant any new rights, it 'does draw attention to the very real and tragic situations many gays and lesbians face when a partner is hospitalized.' Ordering the Department of Health and Human Services to find a better way to handle such situations, Mr. Socarides said, is 'the kind of thing the gay community was hoping Obama would do right after he was inaugurated.'"

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  1. OK Craig so thell me what The Clointon's did in 8 yrs since the Gays love em' so much??????

    Posted by: Chris | Apr 16, 2010 12:16:00 AM

  2. I meant Clinton's

    Posted by: Chris | Apr 16, 2010 12:16:23 AM

  3. CHRIS!!

    You must NEVER criticize the SACRED CLINTONS!

    They gave us SO MUCH LOVE (see DADT). You clearly DON'T UNDERSTAND!

    Don't worry, some Clinton ass kisser will show up to give us their revisionist history (you see, it was the best thing back then, 'cause Bill was really having a hard time and Dave Mixner and he weren't BFF's anymore..blah blah)

    Posted by: Marty | Apr 16, 2010 12:25:25 AM

  4. Doesn't anyone else see a pattern here? On issues that he campaigned on...made promises action, just more stalling. Instead of repealing DADT, Obama told the DOD to study the idea of repealing it...nothing changed...Instead of including the issue of gay healthcare rights in the healthcare bill that Obama just signed, he ordered the Secretary of Health to study it and get back to him in 6 months....this memo today does not grant us any seems calculated to make us feel good without having to actually change the law. If Obama actually approves any new rules 6 months from now, those rules could be taken away by a Republican Congress or by a new Executive Order from a Republican President. This means nothing until it is written into law.

    Posted by: SeekerSTL | Apr 16, 2010 1:16:40 AM

  5. I agree with you Chris and Marty.

    Posted by: Sam | Apr 16, 2010 2:40:10 PM

  6. People, the president has more important
    things to think about than your personal
    situations, which you CHOSE to engage in.
    All this stuff about gay rights is soooooo
    disgusting. How you CHOSE to live your life
    is your business, but please stop whinning
    about how unfair you are treated. Its your
    choice that you are living this life style,
    so get over it.

    Posted by: Inez | Apr 17, 2010 7:57:58 AM

  7. Let me start out saying, I'm a woman, married almost 30 yrs. No, this should not have taken so long. And No, this is not enough. It's a start - it's a hundred years past due because no President had the balls, prior, to validate this basic human right. I think it is enforceable if we all stand together and fight for it. Think about this - and I don't love Obama - but he did at least get something done as somebody here said, in 15 months. 15 months, out of how many years this country has been here? 15 months is nothing, with all this President is dealing with. He has time to think about gay rights with this recession, a war and health care, etc. You are on his radar, that says something.

    Posted by: mills | Apr 17, 2010 10:38:33 AM

  8. I am 63, not gay, but have several gay friends a couple of which I have had since high school. On a couple of occasions those friends have had to sit at home while their partners were in the hospital and wait for me or someone the families would let in, tell them how their partners were doing. I really do not care what anyone else thinks about this memo. I think it is great and finally this country is moving in the right direction. I am a horse person, I know that great things and achievements take small steps to get there. At least we are on the right track.

    Posted by: Jades | Apr 17, 2010 10:50:31 AM

  9. Are we, as leftists, still going to sit out the November election?

    If we want to end all hope for more action we will.

    Posted by: Rodney | Apr 19, 2010 12:28:17 AM

  10. God bless you Obama, although its taken a long time, I've always feared that hospital visitation would be denied to me and my partner of 15 yrs, I hope that its an actions that won't be overturned

    Posted by: Zo | Oct 9, 2010 1:16:05 AM

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