The CMS is revising its policies to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act preventing same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits.
The proposed rule (PDF) is in response to the United States v. Windsor ruling in June 2013, which determined that DOMA was unconstitutional.
“We propose to revise certain definitions and patient's rights provisions in order to ensure that same-sex spouses in legally-valid marriages are recognized and afforded equal rights in Medicare and Medicaid participating facilities,” the proposed rule states.
The CMS has identified nine areas where it believes policies should be revised to comply with Windsor. For example, the agency proposes broadening the definition of “representative” to include same-sex spouses for Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries receiving treatment at medical facilities. That would allow them to make medical decisions on behalf of a terminally ill spouse who is incapable of making such determinations. Similarly, the CMS plans to require that providers treat same-sex spouses equally if they care for Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries.
The CMS will be taking comments on the proposed rule for 60 days.
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