That’s Janice Langbehn speaking. Langbehn is a Floridian who was barred from the hospital room where her life partner, Lisa Pond, died hours after having a cerebral aneurysm. Thanks to action taken today by Pres. Obama, other gay and lesbian couples will not have to go through such heartbreaking injustice:
President Obama mandated Thursday that nearly all hospitals extend visitation rights to the partners of gay men and lesbians and respect patients’ choices about who may make critical health-care decisions for them, perhaps the most significant step so far in his efforts to expand the rights of gay Americans.
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. Obama’s order will start a rule-making process at HHS that could take several months, officials said.
Langbehn’s experience was apparently part of why Obama decided to do this.
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