NATIONAL NEWS

New Biden Health Care Orders Begin To Unspool Previous Administration’s Policies

Jan 28, 2021, 7:51 AM | Updated: 7:55 am
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House on January 27, 2021 in ...
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House on January 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is taking steps on Thursday to get more people health insurance in the middle of the raging coronavirus pandemic, a down payment on his pledge to push the U.S. toward coverage for all.

The White House said he would sign an executive order reopening the HealthCare.gov markets, something the Trump administration refused to do. He’ll also take action aimed at reversing other Trump administration policies, including curbs on abortion counseling.

Biden has promised to build on former President Barack Obama’s health law to achieve his goal of health insurance coverage for all Americans, rejecting the single-payer, public system that Sen. Bernie Sanders pushed for in his “Medicare for All” proposal. But to do that, he’d need congressional approval, and opposition to the health law still runs deep among Republicans.

The most concrete short-term impact of Biden’s executive orders will come from reopening HealthCare.gov insurance markets as coverage has shrunk in the economic turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic. That new three-month “special enrollment period” could begin as soon as Feb. 15, according to a White House summary.

Created under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, also called “Obamacare,” the marketplaces offer taxpayer-subsidized coverage regardless of a person’s medical history, or preexisting conditions, including COVID-19.

Biden will also immediately reverse a federal policy that bars taxpayer funding for international health care nonprofits offering abortion counseling or referrals. Known as the Mexico City Policy, it can get switched on and off depending on whether Democrats or Republicans control the White House.

Other directives Biden plans to issue Thursday could take months to carry out. Among them, he’ll instruct the Department of Health and Human Services to:

  • Consider whether to rescind Trump regulations that bar federally funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions. The ban on referrals led to Planned Parenthood clinics leaving the program.
  • Reexamine a Trump administration policy that allows states to impose work requirements as a condition for low-income people to get Medicaid health insurance. Work requirements have been blocked by federal judges, and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the issue.
  • Review policies that could undermine protections for people with health problems, such as a Trump administration rule that facilitated the sale of short-term health insurance plans that don’t have to cover preexisting medical conditions.

Biden also campaigned on repealing longstanding federal prohibitions against taxpayer funding for abortion, but a change of that magnitude to a group of laws known as the Hyde Amendment would require congressional approval.

The regulatory changes Biden is asking federal health officials to undertake aren’t likely to happen overnight because hastily written rules are more easily overturned in court, as the Trump administration found out. Time and again, federal judges ruled that Trump officials ran roughshod over legal requirements for regulators, such as demonstrating they’ve considered all sides of an issue.

The idea of reopening Obamacare’s health insurance markets has broad support, including from consumer groups, professional medical associations, insurers and business organizations.

Although the number of uninsured Americans has grown because of job losses in the coronavirus economy, the Trump administration resisted calls to reopen HealthCare.gov.

The Obama-era health care law covers more than 23 million people through a mix of subsidized private insurance sold in all states, and expanded Medicaid adopted by 38 states, with Southern states being the major exception. Coverage is available to people who don’t have job-based health insurance, with the Medicaid expansion geared to those with low incomes.

Of some 28 million uninsured Americans before the pandemic, the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated that more than 16 million were eligible for some form of subsidized coverage through the health law.

Experts agree that number of uninsured people has risen because of layoffs in the coronavirus economy, perhaps by 5 million to 10 million, but authoritative estimates await government studies due later this year.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Cecily Aguilar pleaded guilty to being involved in covering up the death of Army Spc. Vanessa Guill...
Joe Sutton, Matt Phillips and Amir Vera, CNN

Cecily Aguilar pleads guilty in connection with death of Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen

Cecily Aguilar, who was arrested in 2020 in connection with the disappearance of Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen, pleaded guilty Tuesday to being involved in the cover-up of her death, according to CNN affiliate KWTX and an attorney for Guillen's family.
1 day ago
The download page for ByteDance Ltd.'s TikTok app is arranged for a photograph on a smartphone in S...
Stella Chan and Leslie Perrot, CNN

South Dakota governor bans state employees from using TikTok on government devices

South Dakota's governor signed an executive order on Tuesday banning state agencies, employees and contractors from accessing TikTok on government devices
1 day ago
Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West attend the WSJ. Magazine 2019 Innovator Awards sponsored by Harr...
ANDREW DALTON, AP Entertainment Writer

Kim Kardashian and Ye settle divorce, averting custody trial

Kim Kardashian and Ye have reached a settlement in their divorce, averting a trial that had been set for next month.
1 day ago
Kilauea volcano...
Amir Vera, Holly Yan and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

2 new lava flows cascade down Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano

The rare sight of two neighboring volcanoes erupting simultaneously became even more astounding Tuesday as new lava flows gushed down slopes on Hawaii's Big Island.
1 day ago
[File] Pride Flag...
MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press

Landmark same-sex marriage bill wins Senate passage

The Senate has passed bipartisan legislation to protect same-sex marriages.
1 day ago
Stewart Rhodes in October 2022 in federal court. (Bill Hennessy)...
LINDSAY WHITEHURST, ALANNA DURKIN RICHER and MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press

Oath Keepers boss guilty of seditious conspiracy in 1/6 case

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes has been convicted of seditious conspiracy for a violent plot to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential win.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
New Biden Health Care Orders Begin To Unspool Previous Administration’s Policies