Is America Great Again yet? Because the Trump administration just found one more Obama administration rule to roll back, simply because the only thing that matters to these jerks is undoing literally everything passed in the last eight years. The Health and Human Services department’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is getting rid of several proposed rules, and one of those cancellations appears at first glance to be the result of pure, unadulterated meanness to married couples who are gay:
CMS withdrew a proposal that would have revised the conditions for participation for certain providers, conditions for coverage for certain suppliers and requirements for long-term care facilities. Specifically, the proposed rule published in December 2014 would have revised certain definitions and patient’s rights provisions to ensure same-sex spouses are recognized and afforded equal rights in certain healthcare facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funds.
What earthly reason would the administration have for doing this? Obviously, the administration is hell-bent on repealing as many regulations as it can possibly think of, but are any nursing facilities being driven out of business by the costs of letting gay people visit their spouses?
There’s been almost no mention of this regulation outside the healthcare industry press so far. The most detailed discussion of it we’ve seen, in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, features a CMS spokesperson reassuring America there’s no discriminatory intent:
[The] agency was quick to point out the decision relates to how the rule became moot in 2015, not because it is cutting back on protections for LGBT individuals. A CMS spokesperson told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News the agency is pulling the rule because the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges required all states to license and recognize same-sex marriage.
“The 2015 decision addressed the concerns that CMS had sought to address with the proposed rule,” the spokesperson said.
Oh, so it’s just eliminating a rule that would have been redundant after the Obergefell decision, how nice. Is there a “Yes, But…”? OF COURSE there is. Former Obama administration CMS Director Andy Slavitt tweeted yesterday that Obergefell “just says people can get married. Entities could still adopt policies that treat same sex spouses differently from opposite sex.”
Attorney Jason Lundy, who told McKnight’s it appeared CMS’s reasoning was simply that the rule was now redundant, agreed Slavitt might have a point:
“It’s conceivable where a facility could say ‘We don’t recognize a same-sex spouse as a family member,’” Lundy said. “I could see where criticism is coming from along those lines, where they think more of an explicit acknowledgement of same-sex marriages on the same footing [as male-female couples] is necessary to avoid those situations.”
Ah, but surely no Christian-run nursing home in the Bible Belt would be so callous as to pull something like that, just because it was common practice until the last decade or two?
Get ready for good god-fearing nursing home administrators to start asserting on Fox News that the Bible tells them they’re not allowed to let married people visit each other, lest it make Baby Jesus cry. And if that happens, here’s hoping they get their bigot asses sued.