CMS Withdraws Redundant Same-Sex Spousal Rights Proposal

In line with the new administration’s promise to reduce regulations, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has withdrawn a proposed rule to extend spousal rights to same-sex married couples. The rule is no longer needed, as same-sex marriage became legal and recognized in all 50 states since it was proposed, the agency stated in its reasoning.

The rule was proposed in December 2014 as part of Revisions to Certain Patient’s Rights Conditions of Participation (CoPs) for Coverage. It would have given equal treatment to spouses, regardless of their sex, for health care services—even if they received services in a jurisdiction other than where they were lawfully married.

In 2015, the Supreme Court held that same-sex marriages are lawful in all states and must be recognized when they are performed in other states. The outcome came from the case Obergefell v. Hodges. 


“We believe that the Obergefell decision has addressed many of the concerns raised in the December 2014 rule,” CMS stated in its decision to withdraw the old proposal.

Written by Amy Baxter


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