Welcome, Guest! - or
Easy to remember!  »  VinNews.com

Washington - Some Gay Couples Now Due To Receive Benefits Under 'Obamacare'

Published on: June 27, 2013 07:57 PM
By: Reuters
Change text size Text Size  
Bookmark and Share
(Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)(Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Washington - The Supreme Court’s ruling on Wednesday that same-sex couples are eligible for federal benefits will mean more gays and lesbians can reap the benefits of President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul that take effect January 1, advocates say.

In a landmark decision, the court effectively legalized same-sex marriage in California and struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied same-sex couples federal benefits such as healthcare.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act already bans discrimination in health coverage based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The law, known as “Obamacare,” was passed in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court nearly a year ago.

With the Supreme Court decision, same-sex couples who live in states that recognize them can apply for the law’s tax subsidies, meant to offset healthcare costs, as a couple rather than as two individuals, said Tim Jost, a health law expert and law professor at Washington and Lee University. This will help the law reach more people, he added.

Advertisement:

Some couples will be newly eligible for spousal protections under Medicaid, a federally funded program that provides care to low-income parents, children, seniors and people with disabilities. It covers more than 62 million Americans, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

If couples decide to file taxes jointly, though, they may no longer qualify for Medicaid or tax credits because their combined income will put them above the level for eligibility.

In the District of Columbia or one of 12 states that have legalized gay marriage - where about 40 percent of same-sex couples live - applying for health coverage through federal employers and the exchanges will be as simple for them as it is for heterosexual couples, said Kellan Baker, associate director for LGBT progress at the liberal Center for American Progress.

But outside of those borders, it is more complicated.

“We know from the IRS there’s a lack of clarity about how exactly marriages are recognized across state lines,” Baker said. “There’s the legal question of, does the IRS consider you married if you’re living outside of the state that recognized your marriage?”

Section 2 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which the court did not take up, does not require states to recognize gay marriages that took place in other states.

Despite the uncertainty, many advocacy groups lauded the court’s decision because it will improve access to healthcare for many gay couples.

Obamacare establishes state and federal exchanges so people can explore all of their health coverage options in one place.

States that run their own exchange programs decide who qualifies as family members, but the court ruling means that now the 26 federally run exchanges “have no bar to recognizing and including same-sex spouses as protected family members,” said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

The Supreme Court ruling will also enable older same-sex couples to receive marital benefits under Social Security and Medicare, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders said in a statement.

“Many of these federal benefits, from Social Security to Medicare, are founded on the presumption of marriage,” the group said, “yet (the Defense of Marriage Act) denied access to these benefits even to legally married same-sex couples.”


More of today's headlines

Washington - The Obama administration gathered U.S. citizens' Internet data until 2011, continuing a spying program started under President George W. Bush that revealed... Albany, NY - Both chambers of New York's Legislature have approved a bill that would modernize the way Election Night vote tallies are reported in New York City. It...

 

You can now automatically hide comments - New!

Don't worry, you can always display comments when you need to.

Total7

Read Comments (7)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 27, 2013 at 08:34 PM Anonymous Says:

As a matter of basic equity, they should be entitled to the same health care benefits as a mixed gender couple. Its mind-boggling that a mixed gender couple who are separating and suing one another for adultery etc. still continue to be legally entitled to tax and health care benefits by virtue of their differential plumbing while a same-gender couple living together in a committed relationship don't qualify. The government shouldn't be the judge of people's lifestyles and should get out of the "marriage recognition" business entirely and leave that to religious groups. No rav is require to be mesader kiddushin under yesterday's court decision nor is anyone required to change their values or belief system. This is entirely about fairness ane equality in the award of public sector benefits.

2

 Jun 27, 2013 at 10:23 PM victorg Says:

Another faux pax that our liberal Obama supporters have more mud in their face.

3

 Jun 27, 2013 at 11:32 PM PaulinSaudi Says:

I am not sure why I should be concerned about this news story.

4

 Jun 28, 2013 at 02:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

As a matter of basic equity, they should be entitled to the same health care benefits as a mixed gender couple. Its mind-boggling that a mixed gender couple who are separating and suing one another for adultery etc. still continue to be legally entitled to tax and health care benefits by virtue of their differential plumbing while a same-gender couple living together in a committed relationship don't qualify. The government shouldn't be the judge of people's lifestyles and should get out of the "marriage recognition" business entirely and leave that to religious groups. No rav is require to be mesader kiddushin under yesterday's court decision nor is anyone required to change their values or belief system. This is entirely about fairness ane equality in the award of public sector benefits.

you write, "as a matter of basic equity(?), they should be entitled to the same health care benefits as a mixed gender couple."

why is that? why should they be entitled to the same benefits? If I have multiple wives, or live with my sister, am I entitled to those same benefits?

5

 Jun 28, 2013 at 02:25 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
PaulinSaudi Says:

I am not sure why I should be concerned about this news story.

becuase YOU are footing the bill for it. If you're not, I don't know why you owuld be concerned about ANY story on VIN.

6

 Jun 28, 2013 at 03:07 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

you write, "as a matter of basic equity(?), they should be entitled to the same health care benefits as a mixed gender couple."

why is that? why should they be entitled to the same benefits? If I have multiple wives, or live with my sister, am I entitled to those same benefits?

Same sex couples are entitled to equal treatment because we live in a constitutional democracy which provides them that protection. If you have multiple wives, you are breaking the law and are not entitled to benefits. Laws prohibiting polygamy have been argued unconstitutional under the Free Exercise Clause, however, the Supreme Court has continued to rule that neutral laws that impinge on some religious practices are constitutional. Your last question is just plain weird.

7

 Jun 28, 2013 at 07:15 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Same sex couples are entitled to equal treatment because we live in a constitutional democracy which provides them that protection. If you have multiple wives, you are breaking the law and are not entitled to benefits. Laws prohibiting polygamy have been argued unconstitutional under the Free Exercise Clause, however, the Supreme Court has continued to rule that neutral laws that impinge on some religious practices are constitutional. Your last question is just plain weird.

as you did before, you use a circular argument that says they are entitled to equal treatment because our constitutional democracy provides that protection. No, actually, it doesn't.

And despite the collosal blunder the Supreme Court made this week, they already had equal treatment, they just didn't choose to exercise it. same sex marriage is not in any way "equal treatment", it is a new and entirely different treatment.

Lastly, why is that question weird? why is marrying two wives, a sibling or a parent any weirder than same sex marriage? Because YOU think it's strange? but no one else is entitled to believe that of same-sex marriages?

8

Sign-in to post a comment

Scroll Up
Advertisements:

Sell your scrap gold and broken jewelry and earn hard cash sell gold today!