Friday, April 16, 2010

Hospital Visitation Rights for Same-Sex Couples

As reported in today's Washington Post, President Obama has directed the Department of Health and Human Services to require any hospital that receives Medicare and Medicaid funding (which is virtually every hospital in the country) to permit same-sex couple to have visitation rights equal to related family members.

Gay rights activists have long complained that many hospitals allow only related family members to visit with hospital patients. Conservatives contend that this action is merely a sop to a powerful special interest.

Notwithstanding this important policy directive, same-sex couples should be sure to execute Health Care Proxies that provide each partner with legal authority to make health care decisions if the other partner is no longer able to make such decisions for him or herself.

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