The case of coverage for same-sex couples could now soon reach the coding departments of insurance companies. Or at least one, in one instance so far, while the Administration and Republicans search for some equilibrium or rule of law under the questioned constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). One agency appears to be following President’s Obama’s position of abandonment of the defense of the 1996 Act.
In a letter to William Breskin, vice president of government programs at the Blue Cross Shield Association, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) told the insurer to begin enrollment expeditiously and retroactively for Amy C. Cunninghis, the wife of Karen Golinksi, under a court order from the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California.
The order was dated Feb. 22, so coverage would be retroactive to that date. The OPM letter was signed March 9 by Shirley Patterson, assistant director at OPM’s Federal Employee Insurance Operations.
However, the OPM cautioned that the ruling is limited only to the specific couple and “has no effect on enrollments requested by other same-sex spouses.” Moreover, the case is going on and has been appealed by House Republicans. Other cases against OPM are pending as well. However, the U.S. Justice Department is asking for a speedy review of the case, which is reviewing DOMA’s constitutionality on one coast, San Francisco, while the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of the entire healthcare reform act on the other, in Washington today.
OPM had prevented coverage for Golinski’s wife under DOMA, and Golinksi had sued. The couple married in California and Golinski is a lawyer employed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.