Politics

Biden signs orders reversing Trump policies on Obamacare and abortion

Share
Key Points
  • Biden signed an executive order aimed at establishing a special enrollment period on healthcare.gov.
  • The order also directs federal agencies to scrutinize and potentially reverse policies that made it more difficult to enroll in Obamacare and Medicaid.
  • Biden also signed an executive memorandum to immediately rescind the so-called Mexico City Policy, which barred international nonprofits from receiving U.S. funding if they provide abortion counseling or referrals.
President Joe Biden speaks before signing executive orders strengthening access to affordable healthcare at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 28, 2021.
Kevin Lemarque | Reuters

President Joe Biden signed executive actions Thursday aimed at expanding access to Obamacare during the coronavirus pandemic and rolling back anti-abortion policies that had been expanded by former President Donald Trump.

"I'm not initiating any new law, any new aspect of the law," Biden said before signing the orders. "This is going back to what the situation was prior to the president's executive orders."

The latest moves add to the more than three dozen other presidential orders and memoranda Biden has signed in his first week in office, a record-setting pace.

Biden first signed an executive order to reestablish a special enrollment period on healthcare.gov, the health insurance sign-up site established under former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, from mid-February to mid-May.

The order also directs federal agencies to scrutinize and potentially reverse policies limiting health-care access, including those that made it more difficult to enroll in Obamacare and Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for the less fortunate.

Trump had tried unsuccessfully to overturn the act, Obama's signature legislative achievement, but took steps to undercut the law.

"Of all times that we need to reinstate access to, affordability of and the extent of access to Medicaid is now in the middle of this Covid crisis," Biden said.

Biden also signed an executive memorandum to immediately rescind the so-called Mexico City Policy, also known as the "global gag rule," a decades-old policy barring international nonprofits from receiving U.S. funding if they provide abortion counseling or referrals.

VIDEO8:2108:21
President-elect Joe Biden on the Affordable Care Act

That policy had been expanded under the Trump administration to deny assistance to foreign nongovernmental organizations that fund other groups that support abortion services.

In his first seven days in office, Biden has taken sweeping steps to erase Trump's achievements. Biden signed orders for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, halt construction and funding of the U.S.-Mexico border wall, end the travel ban against people from several Muslim-majority countries, include undocumented immigrants in the decennial census, and reverse the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military.

Biden is also trying to work with bipartisan lawmakers to pass a major coronavirus relief bill.

"We've got a lot to do and the first thing I've got to do is get this Covid package passed," Biden said after signing the executive actions.