On January 28, President Biden signed an executive order to strengthen Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.
This executive order encouraged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a Special Enrollment Period so that those who are uninsured or under-insured can seek coverage. This means many families—particularly those who have experienced job loss during the pandemic—will have another opportunity to seek health insurance outside of the 60-day window following a job loss. Between February 15 and May 15, individuals and families will be able to enroll in 2021 health insurance coverage through HealthCare.gov.
The executive order also directed federal agencies to reconsider rules and policies that create barriers to health care and to consider actions that will protect access to care. This review includes policies that take coverage from people who don’t meet harsh work requirements, undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions, make it more difficult to enroll in Medicaid and the ACA, and reduce affordability of coverage.
Today, HHS followed this directive by rescinding permission for states to enact burdensome work requirements. Under the Trump administration policy, states could submit waiver proposals allowing them to take health coverage from people who were unable to find work or who didn’t submit documentation that they worked. This policy didn’t promote employment, but instead created additional red tape and hurdles to accessing care.
We know work requirements don’t work—they lead to a loss of Medicaid coverage, greater financial stress and poorer health for parents, and potential harms to children’s health and wellbeing. Rolling back work requirements will ensure parents and children are more able to access the health care they need without burdensome barriers.
CDF applauds this action as a step towards undoing policies that undermined Medicaid and CHIP and addressing the alarming rate of uninsured children.
Read the full January 28th executive order here. Read more about today’s victory here.