Apr 18, 2010
On Friday, US President Barack Obama transmitted instructions to his secretary of Health and Human Services to draft rules requiring that all hospitals which receive Medicaid or Medicare payments allow patients to designate who may make healthcare-related decisions regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation. For many years, same-sex couples have been at a distinct disadvantage here - it was not uncommon for the partner of a patient who had been designated someone's caretaker to be completely disregarded in favor of the patient's family. It is sadly not unheard of for the orders given by the patient's family to be completely at odds with those of the patient. It was also not uncommon for the partner of a patient to be barred from visitation, again, often at the demands of the patient's family. This move will, once the reality catches up to the law, ensure that powers of attorney and the directives of healthcare proxies will be respected by hospitals and physicians. It's been far too many years for such a thing to come about, and many couple and non-traditional families will have their fears laid to rest.
Thank you, President Obama. Please see this through to the end.