President Biden’s Healthcare Executive Orders
As we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, access to healthcare has never been more critical. This morning, President Biden signed Executive Orders (EO) that will help people access life-saving healthcare services and health insurance coverage.
Reopening Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance marketplace: President Biden signed an EO that reopens the enrollment period for the ACA insurance marketplace from February 15 to May 15, 2021. The ACA insurance marketplace allows Americans who do not have access to health insurance through their employers to find, compare, and enroll in affordable insurance plans for themselves and their families. Usually the enrollment period only lasts a few weeks, and for insurance coverage for 2021, the regular enrollment period has already passed. Due to the pandemic, millions of Americans have lost their jobs as well as their employer-provided health insurance. Reopening the marketplace for this special enrollment period will give people who are uninsured the opportunity to easily access affordable insurance coverage that works for their current needs. As we continue to fight the pandemic, this EO is a critical first step towards expanding health insurance coverage and access to healthcare.
Strengthening Medicaid and the ACA: President Biden also took action to protect and strengthen Medicaid and the ACA. The President has directed all federal agencies to review and reconsider any policies that would limit access to care, including, for example, polices that undermine protections for people with preexisting conditions. President Biden has also ordered that state waivers under Medicaid that could reduce coverage or undermine the program be reviewed. Medicaid is a program that is jointly funded by the states and the federal government and it provides coverage for healthcare services for low-income people. Under the previous Administration, some states got waivers approved to include work requirements for Medicaid eligibility. Imposing additional restrictions such as work requirements for Medicaid disproportionately targets vulnerable people who may not be able to meet such requirements due to a variety of reasons, including disability, illness, going to school, caretaking responsibilities, or lack of technology and resources. The Medicaid program was meant to expand care to vulnerable populations, not to create additional barriers. It is encouraging that the Biden Administration has directed agencies to review and reconsider harmful policies like work requirements for Medicaid eligibility.
Repealing the global gag rule: The global gag rule, which prohibits any foreign nongovernmental healthcare organization from providing or even counseling patients on a comprehensive array of reproductive healthcare services, left many healthcare organizations across the globe in an impossible situation. They had to make a decision between either limiting patient access to reproductive services, or forfeit their U.S. funding and struggle to provide any services to their patients. This was especially harmful for women, Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, LGBTQ people, people with low incomes, and other vulnerable communities across the globe that already struggled to access comprehensive reproductive and sexual healthcare. The rescinding of this rule is critical for expanding access to reproductive and sexual healthcare and recognizing patient autonomy across the globe. President Biden has also directed HHS to immediately consider rescinding a similar regulation, known as the domestic gag rule, for Title X family planning programs in the U.S.
To learn more about the healthcare executive actions the Biden Administration took today, click here.