Much reaction to the new hospital rules issued by the President last night. I haven’t seen an official statement from anyone at the White House — and we probably won’t. Keep in mind, anti-discrimination language was supposed to be included in the health insurance reform bill, but the LGBT provisions got stripped out:
Baldwin had sought and secured four pro-gay provisions in the original House version of health care reform, including a prohibition on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in health care.
But neither the Senate bill nor President Obama’s proposal late last month included those provisions. Baldwin had held out hope, as late as Thursday morning, that at least two of the provisions might be added back under whatever legislative package the House and Senate would eventually vote on. But by Thursday afternoon, when the text of that final package was posted on the Internet, that hope was quashed.
So, this is finally a good move by the President and partially makes up for what was lost in the health care bill. Because Obama actually took some pro-LGBT action, there’s been a lot of hyperventilating about it from the usual suspects. As always, Richard Socarides provides some perspective:
Richard Socarides, who advised President Bill Clinton on gay rights issues, said that while the memorandum on its own did not grant any new rights, it did “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.”
We did hope that Obama would have taken some action after the inauguration on the low-hanging fruit. And, let’s be honest, this wasn’t a heavy lift. The President didn’t expend any political capital on it. But, there are some issues coming up, including ENDA and DADT, that will require his direct engagement. He promised.
It just makes me realize how far we have to go to achieve equality when something as basic as hospital visits is treated as an earth-shattering development.
The two-page memo is here:
Hospital visitation memo http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf