Friday, April 16, 2010

Two Posts On Taxes and the Constitution

One is scary and slightly tyrranical -- a Contract From America? -- and the other, by Mark Engler, brings us back to earth. Read them in succession and the stark lunacy of the first will be evident.

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President Enforces Rights for Patients.

From fabulous Pam Spaulding at Pam's House Blend:

The President, in an extremely positive development for LGBT families, has directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure that hospitals participating in Medicaid or Medicare will allow patients to designate who may visit them as well as name their primary caretaker and decision maker. Countless tragedies have occurred because of denial of access or ability to decide on the health of a loved one because the hospital would only recognize the rights of a blood relative.

I'm happy to report that my state, North Carolina, recently put this into place on its own, as you'll see in the memo.

According to the White House, these measures could require substantive changes to the visitation policies of hospitals in at least twenty-five states whose laws do not currently require the extension of visitation rights, and will hold hospitals participating in Medicaid or Medicare to the highest care standards nationwide.

The changes in this official memorandum also benefits widows and widowers without children, members of religious orders, and others whom otherwise may not have been able to receive visits from good friends and loved ones who are not immediate relatives, or select them to make decisions on their behalf in case of incapacitation. Full text of the memo below; the PDF can be downloaded by clicking the image.

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Tobin Removes Hospital From CHA Network

In a well-known rift during the health care debate, the Catholic Health Association supported the bill, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops did not. Now Bishop Thomas Tobin has removed a Providence Rhode Island hospital, St. Joseph's Health Services, from the CHA network, proving the power that ultra-conservative bishops have over localized health care delivery. Tobin's called St. Joseph's affiliation with CHA "embarassing." You can read the entire story at HuffPo.

Tobin's famous for his condemnation of Catholic legislators who don't toe the increasingly conservative doctrinal line. Last summer he had a very public spat with Representative Kennedy over Kennedy's stance on abortion, saying that the legislator should refrain from taking communion and examine his faith.

According to the article, only one other hospital has broken with CHA since the health care debate. The name of that hospital has not been released.

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