KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Obama To Extend Full Marriage Benefits To Gay Couples

Same-sex married couples will be eligible for emergency family leave and the full panoply of spousal benefits provided under federal law, regardless of whether the state in which they live recognizes their marriages. In addition, the government plans to extend those benefits to federal employees.

The New York Times: Obama To Extend Array Of Marriage Benefits To Gay Couples
The federal government on Friday will extend a wide range of marriage benefits to same-sex couples, making good on a promise by President Obama after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last year. ... The spouses of gay federal employees will get health insurance, life insurance and flexible spending accounts. In addition, federal employees will be able to take leave to care for a same-sex spouse, something that has long been limited to heterosexual married couples (Shear, 6/20). 

The Wall Street Journal: Same-Sex Couples To Get More Benefits
The Obama administration will announce Friday the extension of more benefits and obligations to same-sex married couples, including plans to allow workers nationwide to take leave from their jobs to care for same-sex spouses. The White House also is expected to press Congress to pass legislation needed to change some provisions, such as Social Security benefits, to apply to same-sex married couples (McCain Nelson and Bravin, 6/20).

Los Angeles Times: Same-Sex Couples Eligible For Family Leave, Administration Says
The Obama administration will announce Friday that it plans to make same-sex spouses eligible for emergency family leave to care for their partners regardless of whether the state in which they live recognizes their marriages. The Department of Labor will issue a proposed rule making clear that the right to time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act is valid for all legally married couples, according to a White House official who asked for anonymity because the news was not yet official (Phelps, 6/19).

The Washington Post: New Proposal Would Make Same-Sex Partners Eligible Under Family And Medical Leave Act
The Labor Department will issue a proposed rule Friday stating that any employee is eligible for leave to care for a same-sex spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act, according to White House officials, regardless of whether they live in a state that recognizes their marital status. ... Due to FMLA’s scope, the Labor Department rule would apply only to private-sector employees, but administration officials said the Office of Personal Management would issue its own proposal Friday extending the same benefits to federal employees (Eilperin, 6/20).

Associated Press:  Obama Moves To Ensure Sick Leave For Gay Couples
The Obama administration will work to ensure that gay and lesbian Americans are eligible to take leave from their jobs to care for a same-sex spouse, regardless of whether they live in a state that recognizes gay marriage, the White House said Friday. President Barack Obama is directing the Labor Department to start drafting rules making clear that the Family and Medical Leave Act applies to same-sex couples, allowing gay and lesbian employees to take unpaid leave to care for a sick spouse regardless of where they live. The move comes three years after the Obama administration stopped defending the Defense of Marriage Act, which lets states refuse to recognize gay marriages performed in other states (Lederman, 6/20).

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