They're just being bastards for the hell of it now.

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.

Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. CLICK HERE to help us keep your blood pressure up.

[Becker's Hospital Review via Sharon Begley on Twitter / McKnight's Long-Term Care News]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Hell of a coincidence we have here! On the very same day that a Russian spy gets arrested for using the NRA as a conduit to the Republican Party -- ahem POLITICAL PARTY 1! -- the United States Treasury announces that it won't be collecting donor information from "social welfare groups." Guess which "GUN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION" is a tax exempt social welfare group that raised $337 million in 2016 and will now be able to hide its donor list from the prying eyes of the American public?

Here's a hint:

That's right, donors to the the NRA and those Kochsuckers at Americans for Prosperity can now dump infinity political dollars into their lobbying and electioneering efforts without having their names disclosed to the Federal Election Commission. Or the IRS. Or anyone who might object to propping up lunatic politicians who want to arm preschoolers.

In the bad old days, i.e. yesterday, "social welfare organizations" had to give the IRS names and addresses of anyone donating over $5,000. But now they get to keep it all secret, as White Jesus and Charles Koch intended. Here's how the Treasury explains the change on its website.

Tax-exempt organizations described by section 501(c), other than section 501(c)(3) organizations, are no longer required to report the names and addresses of their contributors on the Schedule B of their Forms 990 or 990-EZ.

Okay, now 'splain us how awesome this is gonna be, Steven Mnuchin!

Americans shouldn't be required to send the IRS information that it doesn't need to effectively enforce our tax laws, and the IRS simply does not need tax returns with donor names and addresses to do its job in this area. It is important to emphasize that this change will in no way limit transparency. The same information about tax-exempt organizations that was previously available to the public will continue to be available, while private taxpayer information will be better protected.

BOOOOORING! Hey, Mitch McConnell, you're a big old whore -- say the quiet part out loud to the Wall Street Journal.

The IRS's decision is a move in the right direction to end activist regulators' culture of intimidation to silence political speech. [...] More and more states were using these documents to chill political discourse, rather than encourage it.

That'll do it! Can't do anything about the pizza racists running their mouths and ruining the grift. But you can make it harder for customers to work out what corporate owners do with their earnings. Because money is speech, and speech is free, and we all have a First Amendment right to secretly fund organizations that team up with Russia to ratfuck American elections and starve the poor.

Thanks, Justice Kennedy!

Follow your FDF on Twitter!

If you click here to fund us, we promise not to make you read about tax policy tomorrow! PROBABLY.

[ / WSJ]

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Fox News has been LI'L BIT CONFUSED about how to cover Donald Trump's treason meeting with Vladimir Putin. There was a lot of tut-tutting from Fox's daytime journalists (the "real" ones) on Monday, but then it was Double Dipshit Time on Monday night as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity took over the commentary. Carlson found the real election hackers (brown Mexican people who either move to America and become legal citizens who vote or brown Mexican people who are just born here, as if THAT is allowed!) and declared that Russian meddling is like number 115 on the list of things that threaten America. (The other 114 are the blacks and the Mexicans and the gypsies, because Tucker Carlson is a white supremacist.) Meanwhile, Hannity hosted Donald Trump for some kind of mutual lick-off session where Trump said that Putin had informed him that there was NO COLLUSION. It's good to have a KGB handler who remembers stuff like that!

But even then, there was a hopeful moment! Fox News's Chris Wallace committed an actual act of journalism Monday night when he interviewed Vladimir Putin, going so far as to stick Robert Mueller's indictments in the Russian leader's stupid fucking face and dare him to read them. He even asked Putin why he constantly murders people with poison. GO GET HIM, CHRIS WALLACE!

Usually the next morning's "Fox & Friends" is like Carlson and Hannity's afterbirth, but Tuesday morning was a little bit different! For some reason, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade and Abby Huntsman were not 100% pleased with Dear Leader's behavior in Helsinki! So they put on their Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski masks and did their best impression of a more dumber version of "Morning Joe," and oh my god it was SO WEIRD. Like, they would be outraged for a second, but then they would immediately compliment him and reassure him that he is a Very Good Boy who won that presidential election fair and square.

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