Alex Blaze

New DHHS rules hurt queers' medical care access

Filed By Alex Blaze | December 22, 2008 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living
Tags: Adolph Hitler, artificial insemination, Barack Obama, contraception, health care reform, infanticide, medical, rick warren, right to conscience, Tammy Baldwin

I posted last week about the Bush Administration's new rules regarding the conservative creation known as the "right to conscience" (basically, the right to violate, with impunity, basic medical principles if medical professionals say a procedure goes against their personal values). While the discussion is focused on abortion and contraception, Tammy Baldwin is saying that the rules are broader:

"The refusal clause goes beyond women's health and a woman's right to an abortion or birth control," said openly lesbian Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin.

"Under the new regulations, a doctor may also refuse to treat a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender person. Medical care must be based on science and the patients' best interest, not the providers' religious, political, or other philosophical views."

More after.

From HRC:

These regulations could impair LGBT patients' access to care services if interpreted to permit providers to choose patients based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or family structure. In addition, under these regulations a provider might be able to refuse to administer an HIV test to a gay patient, and even be exempt from the statutory duty to tell the patient where else he could receive the test. Under the regulation, a pharmacist could refuse to fill a prescription for hormone therapy if she has religious objection to transgender people.

The scope of the new rules isn't clear and would have to be tested in court, I suppose, before known.

Obviously, Bush doesn't give a fuck about a doctor's "right to conscience." If he did, this would have been enacted 8 years ago.

What he does care about is setting up a large victory for the Religious Right that Obama (and Obama specifically) is going to have to overturn once he gets into office. I'm fairly confident that Obama's DHHS will throw out the absurd idea that a doctor can get paid for only doing parts of their job that they agree with and still get a full paycheck for their work.

Those folks, though, think that abortion is the new Holocaust, that contraception is akin to infanticide, that gay men are sluts who are asking for whatever comes their way, that being transgender is a mental disorder best kept in a hospital, and that artificial insemination of a lesbian is child abuse. They aren't moderates and they want doctors to have the right to refuse treatment at will, and they want their organizations funded by the government as much as (or more than) organizations that provide medical care to everyone.

And they don't care about anything as much as pushing their "non-negotiable" agenda in the "culture war."

And Obama thinks that inviting the global-warming guy to the inauguration is going to bring these folks to the table? Puh-leeze.

Democrats have been bending each and every way to bring white evangelicals back into the party since '92, and all they've gotten for their efforts is smear jobs in the press, campaigns that call them wimps, and a silly impeachment. If Obama wants to embolden them, he can go right ahead. But after he overturns the DHHS rules, they're going to go right back to their "Obama supports infanticide" meme and work against him as if he were Hitler.


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I am terrified these restrictions could also be used to justify race-based discrimination.

We are regressing.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 22, 2008 5:04 PM

Alex, is this something that Obama can overturn with an executive order?

I'm pretty but not absolutely sure that this set of rules technically originated in the DHHS, so it would have to be overturned there, not with an XO.

But that's pretty much the same thing as Obama doing it, since he'd pick the people who run the department, pressure them, etc.

He did criticize "right of conscience" rules last summer, so I'm pretty sure that he'll get on it.

Yes, since the policy was enacted as an executive order, Obama can reverse it with another. As he is pointing out though, this is Bush's "parting shot" or one of them, depending on how onery he gets between now and January 21st.

One of them, definitely. He already pretty much killed the EPA, and I'm sure he has a few more in the works.

Hell, he might even issue a blanket pardon to everyone who participated in torture and illegal surveillance the past 8 years as a final "fuck you" to the country.

But will he reverse it and just how fast? Will he be willing to antagonise the other side of the aisle when he wants their support for economic programmes? My own guess is no; that this will stand for a year or two as the Right has a field day. After all, it primarily applies to women and to LGBT's...and we've learned just how much we count as opposed to the preachers.

While I don't think that these regulations are wise, I don't see how they could be construed to cause harm to any of us, except perhaps as concerns the artificial insemination of lesbians or surgates for gays. Or other fertility services for LGTBQs.

I cannot see how one's family circumstance would be involved. A health-care provider is treating a person, not his/her spouse, or treating their kids. That would seem to me to go beyond these regulations.

But then.... I was in a nursing home for the better part of the first seven months of this year and before that in a hospital for the last two and a quarter months of 2007. Almost a quarter of the people working there who cared for me were queers. But I did get reading the Indiana Nursing Home Patient Bill of Rights one day (not much else to do). And therein I noticed that we were lacking certain rights which married persons would be allowed (like that is news, huh?).

But then I got talking to the social worker about it one day and she assured me that if two guys wanted to room together, have a certain amount of privacy, etc., it was fine with the home. Yeah, ok, fine with that nursing home; but with which other nursing homes wouldn't it be workable? Especially, when this DHHS regulation is in place.

And since we've been talking about atheism on Bilerico also. I might point out that a discussion between myself and a minister who was also a resident of the nursing home concerning his faith and my 'rationalism' - aka atheism - managed to get some of the faith-filled therapy staff who was listening on rather upset. Yep, I got muzzled by talking about atheism (metaphorically speaking, that is).

We've got a long way to go..... queers and atheist, both.

"...While I don't think that these regulations are wise, I don't see how they could be construed to cause harm to any of us, except perhaps as concerns the artificial insemination of lesbians or surgates for gays. Or other fertility services for LGTBQs...."

Think about it for a second.

This order allows ANY person in ANY medical facility that receives ANY federal funding to refuse to participate in ANY medical procedure that goes against ANY moral or religious standing that they may have.

Think about that

Well, William... that's sort of what I was doing when I looked back on my last year in the health care system.

One thing struck me is that as I don't seem to set off anyone's gaydar so I sorta 'pass' as a straight on first glance anyway. So why should I tell anyone my sexuality if that sexuality isn't in some way concerned with my condition under review? I have a medical condition which might be seen to be derived of a certain sexual act, but I don't see the need to tell a doctor about that. I'll let him ponder the why (which I usually steer to the idea that my radiation therapy for cancer set it off). So does that mean I'm in a medical closet?

I read the ACLU document on these regulations and all they can manage to come up with is "a health care provider may attempt to seek protection under the Rule for... refusing to tell a gay adolescent about the importance of using condoms to protect himself against HIV" and a "physician who offers treatment to Medicaid patients living with HIV/AIDS, but refuses to provide such treatment to gay men because of her religious beliefs about homosexuality." But these are simply examples of what the ACLU sees as likely abuse under the regulation and are probably emblematic of even more situations that might arise. So you are likely correct.

I just don't understand how a religious person who takes an oath to provide medical care would necessarily not provide that care for an illness because of someone's sexuality - even though that illness may not be derived of the person's sexuality. What happened to their supposed Christian/Muslim/Jewish love and to do no harm?
...

"...I just don't understand how a religious person who takes an oath to provide medical care would necessarily not provide that care..."

I imagine that you may not have a good understanding of the inner workings of a fundamentalist's mind.

Or transsexual people for transitioning.

Or other intersex people for existing.

Some people consider that immoral. Has the pope just thrown out the book of Matthew, in order to condemn those of us born TS or otherwise IS?

How can you have a religious problem with a medical condition, being intersexed? That's not having a religious conviction, that's having a religion based psychosis.

But yeah, as usual I forgot about transsexual people. Sorry about that. But reading the ACLU document on the regulation, they don't mention the transgendered except to say that they are a advocate for them and other marginalized groups. No specific mention of the possibility of any discrimination in medical services.

Some doctors object to hormone replacement therapy during transition. A few doctors object to maintenance hormones for post-op folks and certain intersex folks.

Even if they're reversed, and Maura makes a good point, it's often a crap shoot trying to get good medical care from non-GLBT doctors and dentists.

When I worked for the railroad I got moved around a lot and the first thing I did in a new town was to contact the nearest GLBT center (or just go to a bar) and find the names of GLBT or GLBT friendly doctors and dentists. It's not a pc thing; it's just that they know and care so much more about our health issues. Although efforts are underway to correct the problem the distinct health issues of women, members of minority communities and LGBT folks are not always well covered in medical schools.

The upshot is that lots of otherwise good doctors are left in the dark about GLBT specific medical issues.

Obviously, Bush doesn't give a fuck about a doctor's "right to conscience." If he did, this would have been enacted 8 years ago.

What he does care about is setting up a large victory for the Religious Right that Obama (and Obama specifically) is going to have to overturn once he gets into office.

Bingo.