President Biden Signs Executive Order To Reopen Obamacare Enrollment
President Joe Biden has signed an executive order to reopen enrolment for Obamacare as part of his effort to ‘undo the damage Trump has done’.
Biden’s first 10 days in Office have largely been spent tackling orders put in place or supported by the Trump administration, including reversing the controversial ‘Muslim travel ban’ and suspending all new federal oil and gas permits.
Among his latest moves include the reopening of enrolment for Obamacare – health coverage offered through the federal marketplace and created under the Affordable Care Act – in an effort to strengthen and expand access to health care for American citizens.
See footage from the signing below:
In a brief ceremony in the Oval Office on Thursday, January 28, Biden also used his executive authority to order a re-examination of policies pushed by the Trump administration, which undermined protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions.
According to a senior administration official who previewed the new policy, per The New York Times, the president intends to offer health care coverage to both people who lost theirs during the pandemic and to those who previously did not have insurance and are now looking to be covered.
The enrolment period is set to run from February 15 to May 15, during which time the Biden administration will orchestrate patient outreach through ‘paid advertising, direct outreach to consumers and partnerships’ with community organisations and advocacy groups. This kind of outreach was previously abandoned under the Trump administration.
Obamacare insurance is typically only offered in the 36 states that rely on the federal marketplace, with enrolment only available during a six-week period in autumn. Sign-ups for the 2021 period ended in mid-December, though the Trump administration reportedly made little effort to make people aware of the opportunity.
Trump also refused to reopen enrolment for Americans losing their jobs as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
As well as reopening enrolment, Biden moved to protect reproductive rights, expand access to abortion, and overturn Trump’s restrictions on the use of taxpayer dollars for clinics that refer or counsel patients to terminate pregnancies.
Biden summed up the orders as undoing ‘the damage Trump has done’, stressing, ‘There’s nothing new that we’re doing’.
In 2018, the Trump administration issued a rule which extended the length of less expensive ‘short’ term policies from three months to up to three years, meaning policies could avoid covering pre-existing conditions, maternity care, mental health care or prescription drugs.
Trump also made it easier for small businesses to offer plans that escape some of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, so Biden has asked federal agencies to re-examine these rules.
If the rules are overturned, patients using these policies would be unable to renew them and could be left without insurance. Biden has campaigned on raising the subsidies for Obamacare plans to make them more affordable.
As part of the Obamacare executive order, Biden has instructed federal agencies to review policies that discourage participation in Medicaid, the public health insurance program for the poor and disabled.
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