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Biden moves to open special Affordable Care Act enrollment period

The president will also address the issue of reproductive health in a separate order

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Photo (c) Luis Alvarez - Getty Images
President Biden is set to sign two executive orders on Thursday afternoon, one aimed at expanding enrollment for the Affordable Care Act during the COVID-19 pandemic and another to address reproductive health. 

In a White House fact sheet, the Biden administration argued that opening a special enrollment period will help a significant number of Americans while the pandemic rages on. By giving Americans another chance to enroll, the administration hopes more people will sign up for health care. 

"Reliable and affordable access to health insurance doesn't just benefit families' health; it is a critical source of economic security and peace of mind for all," the administration said.

Expanding the ACA

Under the order, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would open a three-month enrollment period from February 15 to May 15 on Healthcare.gov. The order will also direct agencies to “re-examine” their current policies with the aim of making sure consumers have unencumbered access to protections and care. 

During his presidential campaign, Biden promised to expand the Affordable Care Act, saying health care should be a “right, not a privilege.” Biden will also address the issue of reproductive health on Thursday, specifically by doing away with the “Mexico City Policy” -- the rule that blocks U.S. funding to international nonprofits that provide counselling or referrals for abortion. 

The president is also expected to expand access to family planning and reproductive care for low-income people. He’s asked the HHS to "take immediate action to consider whether to rescind regulations under its Title X family planning program.” 

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