The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been on top of Joe Biden’s health agenda since he entered the presidential race. Keeping healthcare as the primary focus, the new President on January 28 reopened ACA enrollment in one of his first executive actions after assuming office.
- According to the Executive Order, in light of the exceptional circumstances caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will establish a special enrollment period for uninsured and under-insured Americans to seek coverage through the federally facilitated marketplace.
- Following the order, HHS announced a special enrollment on healthcare.gov from February 15 to May 15 for Americans who need health insurance coverage. “The Department is committed to ensuring that we deploy every available resource during the Public Health Emergency. This Special Enrollment Period will ensure that more individuals and families have access to quality, affordable health coverage during this unprecedented time,” said HHS acting secretary Norris Cochran.
- According to a New York Times report, a senior administration official said the enrollment reopening will offer coverage to those who lost it during the pandemic as well as to fresh applicants.
- To simplify the process, President Biden wants federal agencies to revisit complex policies that keep people away from claiming benefits with pre-existing medical conditions.
- In a bid to protect and expand access to reproductive healthcare, Biden has issued a memorandum that reovokes a global ban, which barred international nonprofits that provide abortion counseling or referrals from receiving US funding. Introduced first by former President Ronald Reagan, this has been rescinded by Democratic presidents and reinstated by Republican presidents over the years.
- HHS has been asked to consider on an urgent basis rescinding regulations under its Title X family planning program.