President Obama recently ordered the expansion of hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples. His memo to the Department of Health and Human Services moves to ensure that gay and lesbian partners be granted the same visitation rights as married heterosexual couples, and applies to all hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid money. Hospitals will also be required to honor all patients' advance directives and documents granting power of attorney and proxy. The language of the memo could apply to unmarried heterosexual couples as well. What impact will this have on hospital protocols? Does the President's order go too far - or not far enough?
Tara Borelli, Staff Attorney, Lambda Legal
Jim Lott, Executive Vice President, Hospital Association of Southern California
Carrie Gordon Earll, Senior Director of Issues Analysis at Focus on the Family