Obama budget adds domestic same-sex partners to Obamacare
April 10th, 2013
06:16 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama budget adds domestic same-sex partners to Obamacare

Washington (CNN) – Buried deep inside President Obama's 2014 budget released on Wednesday is a new proposal to expand federal health insurance benefits to same-sex domestic partners.

Framed as a measure to reduce the deficit, the proposal would amend the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program beginning in 2015 to add a "self plus one" enrollment option in addition to the "self" and "family" options. Like the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act that the administration has endorsed in prior budgets, this new FEHB formulation would work within the current legal constraints of the Defense of Marriage Act by adding a new classification for additional enrollees beyond family.

Currently, the Office of Personnel Management is legally prevented from providing coverage to same-sex domestic partners due to both the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act and the Defense of Marriage Act.

The OPM website informs curious federal employees that the FEHBA "limits health insurance coverage to spouses and children of federal employees," and "DOMA further limits spousal benefits eligibility to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."

According to language in the budget, the proposed changes would allow the OPM to contract with "modern types of health plans rather than being limited to the current four statutorily-defined plans reflective of the 1950s insurance market."

"The health insurance marketplace has changed significantly since the FEHBP was enacted in 1959, and the current governing statute leaves little flexibility for the program to evolve with the changing market," the budget reads.

In a fact sheet released along with the budget, the White House claimed that these changes would "align the FEHB program with best practices in the private sector as larger employers competing for talent are increasingly offering domestic partner benefits."

The budget also proposes other changes to the federal benefits program that would allow OPM to negotiate separate contracts for pharmacy benefits and adjust health insurance premiums based on whether the enrollee smokes or enrolls in a "wellness program."

If the president's budget is enacted into law, the administration estimates that these proposed changes would save $8.4 billion over 10 years, but enactment remains unlikely as it would require support from House Republicans, who've already passed a budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan.


Filed under: Budget • President Obama
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    More rope, Teatrolls?

    April 10, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. buongiorno

    lets be realistic people need health coverage would you want to be denied

    April 10, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  3. Catmandew

    So Obama is hiding changes to an existing law in his budget? Isn't it up to Congress to write laws and change laws? Then his supporters wonder why he doesn't get taken seriously! That's wrong of him to bury something like that in his budget. It is just as wrong as adding riders onto spending bills and not telling anyone. Wouldn't be so bad if it was repealing NAFTA or something useful like that but. It takes away from liberals tryin to say Repuicans are bad cause they do things like that!

    April 10, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  4. Catmandew

    Leave it to Obama to try and sneak things thru and not tell anyone. Deception the Obama smoke and mirror show goes on!

    April 10, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  5. max3333444555

    buried deep? who cares. most plans cover anyways

    April 10, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  6. &%#@

    Can this man think of anymore ways to spend OUR money?

    April 11, 2013 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  7. Rob

    Defense of marriage? Obama should be impeached for refusal to do his job!

    April 11, 2013 03:11 am at 3:11 am |
  8. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    How blessed is the man
    who does not walk
    in the counsel of the wicked,

    Nor stand in the path of sinners,
    Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

    But his delight
    is in the law of the LORD,

    And in His law he meditates
    day and night.
    Psalms 1:1-2

    Woe to those who call evil good,
    and good evil;

    Who substitute darkness for light
    and light for darkness;

    Who substitute bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter!

    Woe to those who are wise
    in their own eyes
    And clever in their own sight!
    Isaiah 5:20-21

    April 11, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |