More than 555,000 Americans have died as a result of the coronavirus during this awful year. One of the hardest-hit racial groups in the country has been the Black community. These devastating statistics show that Black, Pacific Islander, Indigenous, and Latino Americans have a death rate that is double or more than white and Asian Americans.
These numbers are undeniably heartbreaking and show the colossal issues that are plaguing our country. They highlight the large disparities between people of color and other groups with respect to access to healthcare. There needs to be a greater focus on bringing communities together and on providing equal access to care for all.
These actions are a sign of commitment by the Biden-Harris Administration to protect and build on the Affordable Care Act, meet the health care needs created by the pandemic, reduce health care costs, protect access to reproductive health care, and make our health care system easier to navigate and more equitable.
The first action is about strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid is a public health insurance program that helps low-income families get the healthcare services they need. Currently, the administration has a Special Enrollment Period that is open for people to sign up for healthcare coverage. Until May 15th, this Special Enrollment Period gives people healthcare options as they face the harsh realities of the pandemic. The administration is also asking agencies to change their policies so that more people can get coverage.
President Biden is taking action by trying to reverse some of the actions pushed by former President Trump over the last four years. Biden has ordered agencies throughout the country to review the actions put in place and expand their reach to ensure increased access to the healthcare many citizens desperately need.
The second action is considered a Presidential memorandum—a written promise to the American people. It’s about women’s health and reproductive rights. The Biden administration states the Title X restrictions of the Trump administration kept women, people of color, low-income populations, and LGBTQ+ communities from getting the healthcare they need. The memorandum reengages the United States in helping people across the world deal with serious health challenges and puts the US back at the table as the world deals with the COVID-19 crisis.
In addition, the Biden-Harris administration has revoked the longstanding “Mexico City Policy” that began in the Reagan era and has been invoked and revoked along partisan lines. It was most recently invoked under the Trump administration and expanded greatly. This policy restricts federal funding from going to any non-governmental agency that provides or supports abortions.
What do these orders mean for the American people? More coverage.