New Biden health care orders begin to unspool Trump policies

President Biden will sign executive orders Thursday that will revoke a Trump-era policy cutting funds to global organizations that offer abortion and to expand access to health insurance

Trump, like past Republican presidents, had supported what critics have called the "global gag rule" on abortion information and had refused to reopen the government's market for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. "Opening a special enrollment period will offer health care access to thousands of individuals whose health care has been impacted by COVID-19".

Biden restored USA funding for foreign nongovernmental groups that give information to women about abortions, and also opened a special three-month enrollment period for uninsured Americans who now want to buy health insurance, as well as for those who lost their coverage because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden's order also increased access to health care funding for impoverished Americans under a program called Medicaid.

According to an estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, almost 32 million people in the USA are uninsured, including upward of 5 million who have lost their coverage because of pandemic-related layoffs.

- Formally consider whether to rescind Trump regulations that bar federally funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions. In August 2019, Planned Parenthood, which had battled the rule in court and had served 40% of the 4 million patients cared for in the program, withdrew from Title X, calling the rule "unethical and unsafe".

- 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.

The newest Biden orders are among a string of directives he has signed in his first eight days in office to upend Trump policies. A federal judge on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order, preventing the administration from implementing the mandate.

The official also dismissed concerns that any action on health care would be delayed until the confirmation of Xavier Becerra as Health and Human Services Secretary, telling reporters, "the President expects the Senate to act quickly on his nominees but there is, there's a lot of work that the agency is going to get started on right away". "The AAFP has previously condemned waivers allowing states to opt-out of marketplace participation, thereby complicating the enrollment process, increasing the burden on consumers and making it more confusing to sign up - all factors that lead to loss of coverage", AAFP president Ada Stewart, MD, said in a statement. Coverage is available to people who don't have job-based health insurance, with the Medicaid expansion geared to those with low incomes.

Over 30 million Americans remain uninsured, according to federal health data. Because of the ACA's financial assistance, many are eligible for zero-premium coverage, and that's expected to be a major selling point in the Biden administration's promotional pitch. But with the pandemic putting millions of people out of work, the number of uninsured has grown.

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