US: Biden signs orders to undo Trump’s health policies

US President Joe Biden signed Thursday two executive actions aimed at rolling back his predecessor's healthcare legacy, and reversing "the damage" inflicted by former President Donald Trump.

Biden said Trump's orders resulted in making healthcare "more inaccessible, more expensive, and more difficult for people to qualify."

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

The orders seek to strengthen Medicaid and the universal healthcare law brought into force while Biden was vice president in the Obama administration, and undo Trump's efforts to curtail women's access to abortion.

One of the orders allows for a website on which Americans sign up for insurance under the universal healthcare law to open for a "special enrollment period" from Feb. 15 through March 15 for new enrollees. That is of particular importance, Biden said in his order, amid the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the US.

While more than 431,000 people have been killed by the virus, those who survive run the risk of long-term health consequences, including lung scarring and heart complications. Over 25 million cases have been recorded in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Biden's order also initiates a review by federal agencies to ensure their policies do not interfere with Americans' access to healthcare.

The president separately issued a memorandum to the heads of the Departments of State, Defense and Health and Human Services, as well as the US's foreign aid agency, aimed at rolling back what is known as the "Mexico City Policy."

The 1984 policy prevents federal funds from flowing to healthcare organizations that provide abortion services or consultations.

"These excessive conditions on foreign and development assistance undermine the United States' efforts to advance gender equality globally by restricting our ability to support women's health and programs that prevent and respond to gender-based violence," Biden said in the memo.

Source: Anadolu Agency