Top 12 Biden Executive Orders Related to Healthcare and COVID-19

15 February 2021 Blog
Author(s): Alexandra B. Shalom
Published To: Health Care Law Today Coronavirus Resource Center:Back to Business

Editor's Note: Health Care Law Today would like to thank Quinn Carlson, Extern, for her contributions to this article.

During President Biden’s first few weeks in office, he signed 30 executive orders (EO), many of which are designed to improve and protect the safety, well-being, and future of the United States. This blog post provides a high level summary of the top 12 executive orders related to healthcare and the Covid-19 pandemic response.

1. EO 14007: President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

Establishes the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). PCAST must advise the President on topics relating to the economy, worker empowerment, education, energy, environment, public health, national and homeland security, and racial equity.

2. EO 14009: Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act

Revokes two of former-President Trump’s executive orders that shortened the period during which people could enroll for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. In addition, this executive order directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “consider” making a Special Enrollment Period for the Federally Facilitated Marketplace so that uninsured and under-insured Americans can sign up for coverage.

3. EO 13987: Organizing and Mobilizing the United States Government To Provide a Unified and Effective Response To Combat COVID-19 and To Provide United States Leadership on Global Health and Security

Creates two new positions: 1) Coordinator of the COVID-19 Response and Counselor to the President (COVID-19 Response Coordinator) and 2) Deputy Coordinator of the COVID-19 Response. The COVID-19 Response Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator will identify and help agencies incentivize, support, and encourage widespread mask-wearing. In addition, they will provide ongoing guidance to heads of agencies on the continuity of government functions during COVID-19.

4. EO 13994: Ensuring a Data-Driven Response to COVID-19 and Future High-Consequence Public Health Threats

Increases the gathering, sharing, and publication of COVID-19-related data through the newly created COVID-19 Response Coordinator position. The data sharing will help create policies and responses to COVID-19 and future public health threats. The goal of this order is to further public understanding of the pandemic and to prevent the spread of misinformation.

5. EO 13995: Ensuring an Equitable Pandemic Response and Recovery

Establishes a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force within the HHS to address the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color and other underserved populations.

6. EO 13996: Establishing the COVID-19 Pandemic Testing Board and Ensuring a Sustainable Public Health Workforce for COVID-19 and Other Biological Threats

Addresses the cost of COVID-19 testing by guiding the Secretary of the Treasury, the HHS, the Secretary of Labor, and the COVID-19 Response Coordinator to 1) facilitate the provision of COVID-19 testing free of charge to those who lack comprehensive health insurance, and 2) clarify group health plans' and health insurance issuers' obligations to provide coverage for COVID-19 testing.

7. EO 13997: Improving and Expanding Access to Care and Treatments for COVID-19

Directs HHS and the National Institutes of Health to develop plans to 1) accelerate COVID-19 therapy development and 2) improve access to quality and affordable healthcare. This order urges various federal departments and agencies to provide targeted surge assistance to critical and long-term care facilities. HHS must also issue recommendations on how states and healthcare providers can increase their healthcare workforce capacities. Finally, this order recommends prioritizing investments in readily administered and scaled therapeutics through grants for research and development.

8. EO 13998: Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel

Requires masks in/on airports, international flights, trains, buses, and ferries.

9. EO 13999: Protecting Worker Health and Safety

Orders the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to 1) revise its guidance on workplace safety during COVID-19 and 2) launch a national program that will increase enforcement on workplace violations.

10. EO 14000: Supporting the Reopening and Continuing Operation of Schools and Early Childhood Education Providers

Requires the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of HHS and the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences to use evidence-based guidance, data collection, and technical assistance to assist schools in deciding whether and how to reopen, and how to remain open.

11. EO 14001: A Sustainable Public Health Supply Chain

Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of HHS, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, among others, are directed to create a pandemic supply chain resilience strategy by securing necessary supplies and pricing, including critical materials, treatments, supplies, and resources necessary to produce and distribute tests and vaccines at scale.

12. EO 14002: Economic Relief Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic

All executive departments and agencies should identify actions they can take to address the current economic crisis resulting from the pandemic. The departments are instructed to specifically consider how to better use data and improve access to, reduce unnecessary barriers to, and improve coordination among programs wholly or partially funded by the federal government.

Looking Forward

A January 28, 2021 press release from the White House states that President Biden plans to sign an executive order titled “Protecting Women’s Health at Home and Abroad.” This order will expand access to comprehensive reproductive health and direct the HHS to take immediate action to consider whether to rescind regulations under its Title X family planning program. Further, this executive order would rescinds the “global gag rule,” or the “Mexico City Policy,” which currently prevents international non-profits from receiving U.S. funding if they provide abortion counseling or referrals. As a result, this order will provide women across the country and around the world with increased health care rights and access. For more information, please see here.

A full list of President Biden’s executive orders is available here. The orders are related, but not limited to, immigration efforts, migration protection, the climate crisis, and incarceration system formation.

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Related Services