New Biden health care orders begin to unspool Trump policies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will act Thursday to get more people health insurance in the middle of the raging coronavirus pandemic, a down payment on his pledge to push the U.S. toward coverage for all.

The White House said he would sign an executive order reopening the HealthCare.gov insurance markets, something the Trump administration refused to do.

He’ll also move to start reversing other Trump administration policies, including curbs on abortion counseling and work requirements for low-income people getting Medicaid.

Biden has promised to build on former President Barack Obama’s health law to achieve his goal of health insurance coverage for all Americans, while rejecting the single government-run system that Sen. Bernie Sanders pushed for in his “Medicare for All” proposal.

But Biden will need congressional approval for his more centrist approach, and opposition to “Obamacare” still runs deep among Republicans.

The most concrete short-term impact of Biden’s orders will come from reopening HealthCare.gov insurance markets as coverage has shrunk in the economic turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic.

That new “special enrollment period” will begin Feb. 15 and run through May 15, the White House said. It will be coupled with a promotional campaign and a call for states that run their own insurance markets to match the federal sign-up opportunity.

Created under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, the marketplaces offer taxpayer-subsidized coverage regardless of a person’s medical history, or preexisting conditions, including COVID-19.

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