U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday signed two executive orders to strengthen Americans’ access to quality and affordable health care.
One of the executive orders allows the Department of Health and Human Services to open a special enrollment period for Marketplace coverage from February 15th to May 15th.
President Biden’s actions also took additional steps to strengthen Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, and protect women’s health at home and abroad.
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“These actions demonstrate a strong commitment by the Biden-Harris Administration to protect and build on the Affordable Care Act, meet the health care needs created by the pandemic, reduce health care costs, protect access to reproductive health care, and make our health care system easier to navigate and more equitable,” the White House said.
Here is what they’re saying about President Biden’s actions to strengthen access to quality, affordable care:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “The coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis have demonstrated with heartbreaking clarity that access to health care is a matter of life-or-death. President Biden’s Executive Actions are a lifeline for millions of American families and a clear sign that our nation now has the leadership in the White House to turn these crises around. These Executive Actions represent a 180-degree reversal from the assault on health care waged by Donald Trump and Republicans in the courts and Congress in the middle of the pandemic. In stark contrast, President Biden is restoring and expanding access to health care in a way that promotes equity and justice for working families, those who have lost jobs, seniors, women in need of reproductive health care at home and abroad, and more. In particular, opening a special enrollment period will enable potentially millions of Americans who have lost their health insurance through no fault of their own to access care. The Democratic Congress applauds these lifesaving actions, and we will continue our work to protect and improve affordable, quality health care – during this pandemic, and in the months and years to come.” [Press Release, 1/28/21]
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: “President Biden is executing a whole-of-government approach to crushing the virus and providing quality, affordable health care to all Americans.” [Tweet, 1/28/21]
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: “No Michigander should have to worry about access to quality, affordable health care, especially during a pandemic. In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan saw an estimated 46% increase in the number of uninsured adults, and there are still thousands of people who need coverage. President Joe Biden’s executive order to reopen the health insurance marketplace will go a long way in expanding health coverage to Michiganders, and I couldn’t be more grateful for his leadership during this difficult time.” [Press Release, 1/28/2021]
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy: “Ensuring that our residents have access to quality, affordable health insurance has been a top priority of our administration since day one. As we continue our work to save lives and protect New Jerseyans in response to the pandemic, this action will expand opportunities for residents to get the coverage they need to maintain their health and wellbeing. I want to thank President Biden for taking this necessary step at the federal level to further complement the relief efforts of his American Rescue Plan.” [Press Release, 1/28/21]
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont: “I applaud @POTUS Biden for taking action by signing executive actions that restores and strengthens the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid, and safeguards reproductive health care access. We have seen during this pandemic how critical it is that Americans have access to healthcare—it is a basic human right. Quality healthcare is not only essential to us as individuals, but critically important for the well-being of our communities.” [Tweet, 1/28/21]
Illinois Gov: JB Pritzker: “Amidst a pandemic that’s upended healthcare access for so many, a national commitment to providing quality care has never been more urgent. I applaud @POTUS for expanding reproductive and healthcare access and opening a Special Enrollment period from Feb. 15 to May 15.” [Tweet, 1/28/21]
Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin: “I repeatedly called on Trump to do more to protect and expand access to affordable health insurance, which he failed to do. The Trump administration spent four years working to sabotage our health system, and more Americans are uninsured today than when Trump took office. Today, President Biden is taking immediate action to help more Americans gain access to the quality, affordable health insurance they need during this deadly pandemic. I’m looking forward to working with President Biden and his administration to make it easier, not harder, for Americans to get the health care they need at a price they can afford.” [Press Release, 1/28/21]
Nevada Senator Jacky Rosen: “I applaud President Biden’s actions today to improve access to affordable health care. Today’s steps will: Reverse the previous Administration’s attacks on the ACA; Open a special enrollment period; Re-examine policies that undermine pre-existing conditions protections.” [Tweet, 1/28/21]
Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow: “Michigan families shouldn’t have to choose between getting care for COVID-19 and being left with thousands of dollars in bills that they’re unable to pay. President Biden’s reopening of the health insurance marketplace comes at a critical time for our state. He knows that families in Michigan are in desperate need of help right now and need access to affordable, comprehensive health coverage.” [Press Release, 1/28/2021]
Michigan Senator Gary Peters: “Michigan families shouldn’t need to worry about accessing quality, affordable health coverage for the care they need – especially during this pandemic. I’ve repeatedly pressed to reopen enrollment because we are in an unprecedented public health crisis and Michiganders need access to health care coverage. I’m glad President Biden’s Administration is taking this important step to reopen enrollment and I look forward to working with them to get through this pandemic together.” [Press Release, 1/28/2021]
Delaware Senator Tom Carper: “Access to health care is critical during a pandemic. President Biden is taking steps today to open a special #ACA enrollment period on http://HealthCare.gov to ensure more Americans can #GetCovered and access care.” [Tweet, 1/28/21]
Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal: “President Biden is delivering on his pledge to restore & strengthen access to health care. After four years of attacks aimed at restricting & denying health care access, today’s actions mean Americans can finally begin to breathe a sigh of relief. Now Congress must act without delay to codify these protections into law & improve the health care system so it is more affordable for everyone. Without Congressional action, access to reproductive health care, as well as health care access as a whole, remain at risk.” [Tweet, 1/28/20]
New Jersey Frank Pallone, Chairman, House Energy and Commerce Committee: “After four years of constant attempts by the Trump Administration to make it harder to sign up for health care and more expensive for those who obtain coverage, President Biden is taking decisive action to reverse the damage done and to expand access to quality, affordable health care. Re-opening the healthcare.gov Marketplace is one of the most commonsense ways to ensure Americans can sign up for health coverage during this unprecedented public health and economic crisis. Over the last year, the Trump Administration repeatedly ignored my requests to reopen healthcare.gov for enrollment as millions were losing their jobs and health coverage. Today, barely a week in office, President Biden heeded that call and directed the reopening of the Marketplace to ensure Americans can sign up for coverage. President Biden also took the first steps toward reversing the policies of the last four years that undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions, make it harder to enroll in health care, increase the cost of insurance coverage, and take health insurance away from some of the most vulnerable. I look forward to assisting the new Administration’s efforts to unwind these harmful, and often illegal, changes and to working together on policies that strengthen, protect, and expand access to health care.” [Press Release, 1/28/21]
North Carolina Congresswoman Nancy Manning: “I applaud the Biden Administration’s efforts to increase access to health care. I look forward to working with the Administration to build on the Affordable Care Act to ensure people are protected from high health care costs, everyone is covered, and care is easier to access.” [Tweet, 1/28/21]
Illinois Congresswoman Lauren Underwood: Now more than ever, Americans need access to affordable health care. I am pleased to see President Biden take immediate action to reopen the ACA open enrollment period to ensure people have the health coverage they need during #COVID19. During this Special Enrollment Period, nearly 9 million uninsured Americans could enroll in an affordable health plan that not only covers COVID-19 testing and treatment, but also mental health and substance use disorder services, prescription drugs, and more. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have advocated for a Special Enrollment Period to ensure Americans have access to coverage during this critical time. I urge Congress to join my effort to further expand access to affordable care by passing my Health Care Affordability Act.” [Tweet, 1/28/21]
Delaware Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester: “Affordable & accessible health care has been one of my top priorities since coming to Congress. Today, the Biden-Harris Administration took bold steps to strengthen Medicaid & the ACA, protect women’s health, and open a special enrollment period for the marketplace.” [Twitter, 1/28/20]
Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse: “President Biden pledged to build on the strong foundation of the Affordable Care Act and use his executive authority to reverse Trump’s sabotage, and he began fulfilling that promise today. Today’s executive actions are a critical first step in rolling back Republicans’ war on health care and increasing coverage. Reopening the ACA marketplace means nearly 9 million people will be eligible for free or subsidized health insurance coverage. Recent polling shows people think coverage is more expensive than it actually is. There is an estimated $1 billion in unspent funds from the Trump administration that can be used to promote this special enrollment period. As Americans continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, which has cost millions of Americans their jobs and health insurance, they need coverage more than ever. Additionally, by removing barriers to Medicaid enrollment implemented by the Trump administration, President Biden is making sure vulnerable populations can access the care they need. Between today’s executive actions and including provisions to make health care more affordable in his American Rescue Plan, President Biden is delivering on his promises and making sure Americans can get the coverage they need.” [Press Release, 1/28/21]
Elizabeth G. Taylor, Executive Director, NHeLP: “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. 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.” [Press Release, 1/28/21]
Erin Hemlin, Health Policy and Advocacy Director for Young Invincibles: “Today’s announcement by President Biden is an essential first step in reversing the cruel and politically-motivated sabotage of the Affordable Care Act that has caused unnecessary suffering. The facts are clear: young adults are uninsured at higher rates than older adults, and young adults need significant resources to access coverage. Today we applaud President Biden for taking decisive action to not only reopen HealthCare.Gov, but to also dedicate the resources needed to ensure Americans know how to get covered. Today’s actions create a second chance to sign up for health coverage for so many young adults and young families, where affordable coverage is within reach, but may have gone uninsured simply because they did not know financial help is available.” [Press Release, 1/28/21]