We are discussing in detail the latest updates in American healthcare policies. The Biden administration hit the road running, announcing approximately 40 Executive orders, notes, and presidential proclamations in its first ten days.
Many addressed health difficulties. On Inauguration Day, the government issued orders to obstruct recent Trump commands and eliminate roadblocks it had created to stall President Biden schedule; on January 21, it declared ten COVID-19 directives; and on January 28, it issued an executive order to extend Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) marketplaces, in addition to a memorandum on women’s health.
Among those orders: accelerate vaccine production, expand testing, support the secure reopening of schools and reduce ethnic and racial disparities in treatment and care.
The most significant issue facing President Biden is stopping the coronavirus.
COVID-19 Presidential Actions
The government issued executive orders, memoranda, and Presidential proclamations associated with COVID-19 to direct appropriate agencies to:
- Set a COVID-19 board to encourage testing efforts and deal with the price of analyzing and strengthen the public health workforce
- Rejoin the World Health Organization and encourage global efforts responding to COVID-19
- Strengthen workforce of safety protections
- Provide advice to universities and schools about safe reopening and help with online distance learning, and gather information on COVID-19’s effect on education, especially the disparate impact on minorities
- Obligate passengers to wear masks for domestic travel and be tested for COVID-19 for global travel
- Set a health equity task force and ask companies to ensure equal treatment of minorities, at-risk individuals, and underserved populations in responding to the pandemic
- Improve accessibility to pandemic response supplies
- Extend the availability of the National Guard for pandemic aid
- Ensure the collection and use of pandemic-related information for addressing public health risks
- Enlarge affordability of and access to COVID-19 treatments and encourage the development of new treatments
- Suspend the entry into America of noncitizens from certain nations with higher COVID-19 rates or variants
- Require the national workforce to observe COVID-19 safety measures and require compliance with security measures in federal buildings and on lands.
But there’s much more to America’s health issues than COVID-19. Biden encouraged sweeping reforms to the medical care system; what follows is possibly the top 10 healthcare policies.
- Give Americans a new option on health insurance — especially a public choice that allows working-age adults – and not only the older – to buy into a public insurance policy instead of a personal plan like Medicare. If taken, those eligible could buy insurance right from the national government, probably through the federal marketplace, much like the present Affordable Care Act market.
- Extend coverage to working Americans further by raising the value of tax credits to lower premiums, by increasing the amount enrollees can deduct from their income tax to buy a health insurance policy on an exchange.
- Expand coverage to low-income citizens. In 14 states, governors and state legislatures have denied taking the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid eligibility expansion – hence denying Medicaid to an estimated 4.9 million adults.
- Stop surprise billing. That is when an insured individual receives a bill from a provider they may not have even seen, like an anesthesiologist who’s out of network.
- Tackle market concentration throughout the medical care system. The Biden administration has vowed to utilize its existing antitrust authority to tackle this problem aggressively.
- Partner with the medical care workforce to lower costs and enhance health outcomes.
- Repeal the exception, which allows drug companies to avoid negotiating its costs with Medicare.
- Limit manufacturers from placing abusively high launch costs for drugs that face no competition. Also, limit cost increases for all new, biotech, and generic drugs to the rate of inflation.
- Allow consumers to get prescription drugs from other nations.
- End the tax break that drug corporations receive for advertisements.
Details Of The Public Option
One of the ten initiatives, the public option alone, would alter the face of U.S. healthcare. By basically price-setting and thereby benchmarking obligations for the vast majority of health services, the government would become the Sam’s Club of healthcare, which would drive down prices.
Currently, insurance payments to doctors and hospitals are often listed in terms of “Medicare +” (or “minus” for Medicaid). The Medicare rate work as the benchmark on which private business insurers base their negotiated fee schedules. However, with the authorities more heavily involved indirectly paying for health services, the “Sam’s Club” effect will push down prices. Compared with commercial insurance, individual consumer prices would probably be drastically lower for those picking the public option.
That’s why it is not hard to imagine that many Americans, possibly a significant majority, would select the public option for insurance over other private insurance companies, including employer-based health programs using their ever-increasing shift of costs to workers. With that scenario, the public option might encourage commercial insurers and possibly health systems to additional coalesce to secure their market shares and spread risk. This may or may not lead to further cost disparity as nongovernmental insurers feel pressured to maximize their margins.
Protect The Affordable Care Act And Medicaid
The common theme is enhancing people’s access to health insurance. In a poll conducted in 2019, almost 75 percent of the approximately 30 million uninsureds cited the high cost of health insurance as a significant barrier to getting coverage. The Covid-19 pandemic further compounded this issue. As a consequence of an economic implosion in 2020, the amount of uninsured has risen. We estimated that as many as 15 million people might have dropped employer-sponsored health care. Some will have found alternative coverage through another job, Medicaid, a state insurance market, or the national ACA marketplace.
The Medicaid and ACA executive order state that it is the policy of the Biden government “to safeguard and strengthen Medicaid and the ACA and to create high-quality care affordable and accessible for every American.” The most immediate action led the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider starting a special enrollment period (SEP) for the national marketplace, which manages enrollment in 36 states. Many state-operated exchanges have announced they’ll follow suit.
HHS announced the registration period will run from February 15 through May 15 and enables new enrollees to sign up and present enrollees to update their registration information and alter plans. CMS will spend $50 million on advertising and outreach. The registration period will occur during tax-filing season, allowing tax advisers and filing services to notify people and applicants to analyze their incomes more correctly for premium tax credit purposes.
Moreover, Treasury, Labor, HHS, and other departments are directed to review current regulations, guidance, and policies to determine if they are inconsistent with strengthening the ACA and Medicaid. They’re guided to revise, suspend, or rescind — where applicable through notice and comment rulemaking — irregular service activities. Heads of agencies are further supported to take action to enforce the Biden policy fully. The areas for review are mentioned in general terms but include:
- Trump government rules that allow nations to abolish market enrollment functions in favor of registration through private entities
- Medicaid 1115 waivers, such as work demands or block grants, and ACA 1332 waivers allow states to opt-out of online market enrollment.
- Trump administration policies and procedures which made enrollment in Medicaid and ACA policy harder, including some SEP registration verification procedures
- Practices and procedures decrease the affordability of policy or financial help, including adjustments to the premium adjustment percentage and the “household glitch.”
- The executive order also removes President Trump’s Inauguration Day executive order asking for repealing and weakening the ACA and a later executive order calling for the growth of short-term limited duration policy, association health plans, and health reimbursement accounts. It orders federal agencies to suspend, rescind, or amend agency actions implementing those orders.
The women’s health memorandum asks HHS to consider rescinding, revising or barring Trump government regulations administering the Title X family planning program, which restricts Title X grantees from referring patients to abortion providers and force difficult conditions on funding for grantees that give abortions, which has pushed many suppliers out of the program.
The memorandum also revokes Trump’s government policies which withheld foreign help from entities that perform abortions with non-U.S. funds or given advice, counseling, or advice regarding abortion. It supports the funding of women’s health programs in other countries.
However, what Biden has suggested but can’t do using the executive order is reinforce the ACA. By way of instance, throughout the campaign, Biden suggested a cap on market premiums at 8.5 percent at all income levels. This might be a game-changer concerning spurring enrollment.
Yet, it might have to go through a legislative procedure. Likewise, Congress would need to pass suggestions to increase the size of tax credits, remove the 400 percent of federal poverty level cap on tax credit eligibility, and reduce penalties and co-payments for subsidized beneficiaries.
Biden will likely wish to bring back the penalty associated with the ACA’s mandate, needing individuals to have health insurance, reversing its removal as part of their December 2017 Tax Cut legislation. Biden has said he’d like to reinstate the penalty for not being insured. While he might do it by issuing an executive order, Congress could amend the law to reinsert the penalty in the present ACA law.
Throughout the campaign, the Biden team highlighted what it perceived as the necessity to strengthen the ACA with a public option. Here, Americans would have the option of signing up for a “Medicare-like” program or keeping their coverage. Anyone without insurance may be automatically enrolled.
The general public option could function as an inexpensive solution for individuals that can’t obtain private coverage or are not pleased with their current insurance. Details have not yet emerged about the costs of adding a public option, how much such programs would reimburse hospitals and health care providers, and if hospitals and doctors would have to accept all patients with alternative public coverage.
Simultaneously, Biden has suggested a substantial expansion to ACA, especially adding about five million people living in the 14 countries that chose not to expand Medicaid. These are primarily individuals who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford their insurance.
There is Biden’s Medicare for more proposal, which aims to expand Medicare by lowering the age of eligibility for 60. It is estimated that about 20 million more Americans would qualify for Medicare. Registering in Medicare between the ages of 60 and 64 is voluntary. Employers would be banned from falling newly Medicare-eligible persons in their plans. Premium and cost-sharing subsidies are offered to lower-income beneficiaries.
Finally, an executive order came on Inauguration Day. Solidifying Administrative actions are taken close to the end of the Trump government; another was declared to rescind or amend administrative regulations and guidance that make it even more challenging for the Biden government to reverse Trump policies and execute its own.
Implementing the new American healthcare policies will require months. The Biden administration has set an aggressive schedule to expand Medicaid and ACA coverage, fix Marketplace coverage losses that have happened since 2016, restore access to women’s health services at home and abroad, and set a plan for attacking the COVID-19 pandemic.