Biden Signs Executive Orders to Expand Access to Critical Health Care

Biden Signs Executive Orders to Expand Access to Critical Health Care

Washington, DC – Washington, DC – Amid a flurry of executive orders to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and roll back the most egregious Trump policies, the Biden administration has issued orders intended to boost access to critical health care. The executive orders instruct federal agencies to reconsider policies that limit or weaken Medicaid and mandates the Department of Health and Human Services to open a special insurance enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act to help individuals and families access insurance during the pandemic. A second executive order rescinds the global abortion gag rule, which bars international non-profits from receiving U.S. funding if they provide abortion counseling or referrals.

“We are cheered by this action from the Biden administration and are excited to work with them to build a health care system that works for everyone in this country,” said NHeLP Executive Director Elizabeth G. Taylor. “Medicaid is an indispensable component of our health care system, and the COVID-19 crisis has revealed to the nation the necessity of a strong, resilient program. We are glad the Biden administration is taking this seriously and are eager to see harmful policies like work requirements rolled back. Moreover, the administration has pledged to address systematic racism, and a robust Medicaid program is essential in addressing our nation’s historic health inequities. We are committed to protecting and expanding Medicaid and enthusiastic about working with the Biden team to do so.”

A robust Medicaid program is essential in addressing our nation’s historic health inequities.

The executive order also reopens the ACA insurance enrollment period for three months to allow people without insurance to find coverage. “Because of the economic downturn, many individuals and families have found themselves without insurance, maybe for the first time,” said Mara Youdelman, managing attorney of NHeLP’s D.C. office. “Now more than ever, people need access to affordable and quality health care. People seeking insurance coverage will be able to look for plans on and state marketplaces. We’re hopeful that additional funding for outreach will help guide people to the plans that meet their needs, including directing eligible people to Medicaid.”

A second executive order addresses reproductive health access and acknowledges the interconnectedness of health care globally. The order immediately rescinds the Mexico City Policy. This global gag rule bars U.S. funding to non-profits that provide abortion counseling or referrals. “Women, Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), LGBTQ-GNC people, and those with low incomes face significant barriers to access health care, including abortion. This is true across the United States and around the world,” said senior attorney Fabiola Carrión. “Abortion is health care. Full stop! And gag rules and funding restrictions, whether foreign or domestic, cut off access to critical care. Ideology should never come between a patient and the advice of health care professionals.”

Read the Executive Orders:

Executive Order on Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act

Memorandum on Protecting Women’s Health at Home and Abroad

For additional comment or for further information, please contact NHeLP’s Director of Communications Andy DiAntonio at [email protected] or 703.615.0786 (text for quickest response).

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