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New rules are being issued by President Obama’s health secretary that give same-sex partners more hospital visiting rights. The rules will also make it easier for partners to make medical decisions on behalf of their loved ones.

The new rules will establish that same-sex partners must receive visiting privileges that are equal to those of immediate family members. The rules will apply to any hospital that participates in the Medicaid or Medicare programs.

Before the formulation of these rules, gays and lesbians, as well as children of gay and lesbian couples, were routinely denied the basic right to visit their partner’s bedside at hospitals throughout the country. Even partners who were the designated agent in a Health Care Proxy were routinely denied access to their loved ones.

These new rules protect the rights of Same Sex Couples Elder Law Planningand also expand the rights of others whose closest companions are not immediate relatives.

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