A test for DOMA in the health care fight??

Of course the main swarm of the newsday is buzzing around the Supreme Court, but soon we’ll be talking about some big moves going on in the lower courts that will set up another Supreme Showdown. According to Chris Geidner at PoliGlot, the Obama Administration has asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to fast-track it’s review of a case that alleges the Defense of Marriage Act violates the equal protection clause. This case involves Karen Golinski, who’s wife (married in California) was denied Health Care Coverage because eventhough gay marriage was legal in California at the time, DOMA allowed the insurance company to block her coverage. The Obama administration has called it out and is now pursuing DOMA for discrimination.

Recall that the Obama Administration is no longer defending DOMA… it has already declared the 1994 law unconstitutional. Instead, our tax-payer dollars are being spent by House Republicans on the Bi-Partisan Legal Action Group, or BLAG. Don’t let the “Bi-Partisan” name fool you, this effort is entirely from the GOP, as it was approved by a 3-2 party line vote.

How does this affect the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare?? There is no mention of guaranteed coverage for domestic partners in the ACA (the House version of the Bill had domestic partner protections, but they were scrapped in the Senate version of the Bill). But if the ACA is upheld by the Supreme Court, it could potentially weaken DOMA even further by ending other broad discriminatory practices by health insurance companies. Proving that the Defense of Marriage Act is discriminatory would cause portions of it to be struck down, or end the law entirely. So as we all watch the showdown over the Individual Mandate, know that another big court fight is ahead… possibly before the General Election.

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