President Obama just e-mailed a memo to the Department of Health and Human Services extending hospital visitation rights to the same-sex partners and allowing them to share medical power of attorney. The same privileges would have helped Janice Langbehn and her three kids see her dying partner of 17 years Lisa Pond. Langbehn said, “I hope that taking these steps makes sure that no family ever has to experience the nightmare that my family has gone through.”
The new rules will apply to all hospitals receiving Medicaid or Medicare funds, which covers most of the hospitals across the US. Furthermore, it won’t only apply to gays but to widows and widowers who’ve been unable to see friends and companions and also to member of religious orders who need non-family members to make medical decisions in their behalf. Obama said that hospitals shouldn’t be able to deny visitation rights based on sexual orientation or gender identity.