From CNN: Obama ordered the Dept of Health & Human Services to establish a rule: if hospitals accept Medicare/Medicaid funding, they must let partners visit gay patients.
Obama requested that the regulation make clear that any hospital receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding, which includes the vast majority of U.S. hospitals, must allow patients to decide who can visit them and prohibit discrimination based on a variety of characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
To quote the vice-president, "This is a big fucking deal." For years, LGBT people have petitioned hospitals, counties, and state governments to allow us to visit our sick partners in the hospital. In the back of our heads, there's the worry that we might die like Lisa Pond, alone, with our lover barred from the room, without the chance to say goodbye. Or that when our partners need us, we'll be barred from telling the doctor our partner's medical history and allergies.
Many gay people travel with our wills & durable power of attorney paperwork tucked into our suitcases, just in case. Here's hoping that Obama's order works, and we can travel lighter.