January 28,2021

Wyden Hails Biden Action to Make Health Care More Affordable, Accessible During Pandemic

Executive Order Would Create Special Enrollment Period To Get Health Coverage, Roll Back Harmful Changes to Medicaid, Remove Restrictions on Reproductive Health

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Incoming Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today hailed an action taken by President Joe Biden that would improve access to health care during the pandemic, reversing course on Trump’s campaign to restrict health care.

“The last thing American families should worry about during a pandemic is how to afford their health care while they struggle to pay for rent and groceries,” Wyden said. “The president’s action today is a long-needed course correction that will begin to once again move America towards an era where health care is affordable and accessible for all, especially for women who have seen their reproductive rights attacked at every turn over the last four years. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee to build on this order and lower health care premiums, drug prices and the overall cost of health care for families.” 

The order would reopen the Healthcare.gov marketplace for a Special Enrollment Period so Americans can sign up for health insurance. It would also reboot outreach and enrollment assistance that was ended during the Trump administration. On Medicaid, the order would set the stage for rolling back harmful and illegal waivers like those that allowed states to kick people off their health coverage if they did not navigate complicated paperwork requirements.

On reproductive health, the administration will order a review of the Trump domestic gag rule which prohibits federal family planning dollars from going to health care providers who provide, counsel or refer patients to comprehensive reproductive health, including abortion. On global reproductive health, the executive order would reverse the Mexico City rule which prohibits federal funding for non-governmental organizations around the world that provide legal abortion services or counseling or that advocate for abortion services in their own country.

The order comes after the previous administration continually took steps to make it harder for families to sign up for health coverage, encouraged the proliferation of junk insurance, pushed ideological changes to Medicaid that make it more bureaucratic and harder to enroll in, and restricted women’s reproductive health rights. These changes cumulatively resulted in the rate of Americans without health insurance increasing for the first time since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, especially among children.