President Signs Series of Health Care Executive Orders Thursday
U.S. President Joe Biden signed a series of health care executive orders Thursday, including a special enrollment period for health insurance exchanges that could help people who lost coverage during the coronavirus pandemic.
Employer coverage is the most common way for Americans to get insurance, and during the pandemic, when many lost their jobs, the number of uninsured increased.
Biden’s executive order provides for an extended three-month enrollment period in the insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
Normally, the program is only open for enrollment for six weeks a year.
“As we continue to fight COVID-19, it is especially important that Americans have meaningful access to health care,” the White House said in a statement.
The president also ordered federal agencies to review policies regarding insurance coverage for people who already have medical conditions, including the effects of COVID-19.
More than 429,000 people in the U.S. have died from complications from the coronavirus.
Rochelle Walenski, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaking Wednesday at the first briefing on the coronavirus, told reporters that the agency projected between 479,000 and 514,000 deaths by Feb. 20, 2021. The administration plans to hold three such briefings a week.
The head of the coronavirus team, Jeff Zinz, said the Department of Health is working to allow more professionals to vaccinate.
He said the government will allow retired doctors and nurses to administer vaccines to patients. In addition, professionals licensed in one state would be able to administer vaccinations in other states.
Zinz also urged Congress to approve Biden’s COVID-19 supplemental aid bill to keep the pace of vaccination and expand testing options. Biden has set a goal of delivering at least 100 million doses of vaccine in the first 100 days of his presidency.