President Obama, in an important move to extend equal protections and support same-sex couples, will issue direction Friday through Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to states to allow them to include same-sex couples in Medicaid protections, equal to those of heterosexual married couples.
It’s important to note that this guidance allows, but does not require, states to offer the Medicaid rights. Nor does the direction state what level of legal protections, i.e., marriage or civil union, the same-sex couples must obtain. Additionally, like many of President Obama’s extension of protections to the LGBT community, his successor could revoke these protections with the stroke of a pen.
“Under the new guidance, dated June 10, states have the option to allow healthy partners in a same-sex relationship to keep their homes while their partners are receiving support for long-term care under Medicaid, such as care in a nursing home,” an exclusive and extensive report from The Washington Blade states.
“Medicaid kicks in for a beneficiary to receive care after an individual depletes virtually all of their money. To pay for the beneficiary’s expenses under Medicaid, a state could impose a lein, or take possession, of a beneficiary’s home to pay for Medicaid expenses.
“However, federal law prohibits imposing this lein if beneficiaries are married to someone of the opposite-sex who’s still living in their home. The new guidance, signed by Deputy Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Cindy Mann, clarifies that states can offer this protection to the healthy partner of a Medicaid recipient in a same-sex relationship.”
DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act is still fully in effect. While Speaker of the House John Boehner continues to insist on spending at minimum $500,000 to defend in federal court the already declared as unconstitutional law, same sex couples are forced to be at the mercy of their state governments and the federal government to access over 1100 – 1400 rights that opposite sex couples are given at birth.
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