The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Thursday released a 26-page proposed rule that would open up healthcare visitation and decision-making rights for same-sex couples. The rule, if finalized, would require that Medicare and Medicaid providers and suppliers recognize same-sex spouses as a condition for participation in the programs, and would apply to hospitals, long-term care facilities, ambulatory surgical centers, community mental health centers and hospice providers.
The proposed rule comes in response to the 2013 Supreme Court decision abrogating a ban on federal benefits for same-sex couples.
"We propose to revise the definition of 'representative' to provide that a same-sex spouse in a marriage that was valid in the jurisdiction in which it was celebrated must be treated as a 'spouse,'" the rule reads.
This is one more stepping-stone on the path to equality in response to the Court's decision in United States v. Windsor. It follows similar action by CMS in April, when the agency announced that it would begin accepting Medicare enrollment requests from same-sex spouses.
CMS will accept comments for 60 days before finalizing the rule.
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