GLAA urges Medicaid protections for same-sex partners
Related Links

CMS letter to state Medicaid directors 06/11/11

NSCLC Policy Issue Brief 07/11

"MassHealth Equality law gives same-sex couples choice" Bay Windows 08/11/08

California Assembly Bill No. 641 10/9/11

GLAA urges Medicaid protections for same-sex partners

From:Richard Rosendall
Sent:Tue, 01 Nov 2011 21:18:08
Subject:DOMA and Medicaid spousal impoverishment protections for same-sex partners

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
P.O. Box 75265, Washington, D.C. 20013
Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Honorable David A. Catania
Council of the District of Columbia
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 404
Washington, DC 20004

Dear Councilmember Catania:

We are concerned that, because federal financial participation in D.C. Medicaid is subject to The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), DC Medicaid’s long-term nursing home care program might deny full spousal impoverishment protections to same-sex spouses of nursing home residents.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent a guidance letter dated June 10, 2011 to State Medicaid Directors informing them that under existing law State Medicaid Programs already have discretion, without risking FFP, in certain limited situations to offer some - but not all - of Medicaid’s spousal impoverishment protections to same-sex partners. Below is a link to the CMS letter, as well as to a policy issue brief from the National Senior Citizens Law Center.

Massachusetts has dealt with this problem by prohibiting Massachusetts Medicaid from discriminating against same-sex spouses, and by providing state funding to pay for the benefits. Below is a link to an article on the 2008 MassHealth Equality Law, as well as a link to a recent California enactment relating to long-term care.

Two steps appear to be in order to address this problem in the District of Columbia:

  1. Immediate implementation by D.C. Medicaid of all of the policy suggestions contained in the June 10, 2011 CMS guidance letter; and
  2. Legislation similar to The MassHealth Equality Law.

The question of the fiscal impact of such measures has already come up among us. That will have to be researched; but our city can hardly justify making its support for equality contingent on its being cost-free. This issue presents one more challenge resulting from the District's subordination to Congress combined with the injustice of DOMA.

We welcome your thoughts on this, and would be happy to meet with you at your convenience.


Mitch Wood

Related Links:

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