In his first week in office, President Biden released multiple executive orders creating new policy and reversing previous orders made under the Trump administration.
Of note, several of the orders covered issues relevant to essential hospitals, such as COVID-19, health equity and nondiscrimination, and immigration.
The executive orders focused on COVID-19 response and recovery include:
- Organizing and Mobilizing the U.S. Government to Provide Unified COVID-19 Response, which creates a new position — coordinator of the COVID-19 response and counselor to the president;
- Establishing the COVID-19 Pandemic Testing Board; Ensuring Sustainable Public Health Workforce, which creates a pandemic testing board to coordinate testing and make recommendations to the president on the federal government’s assistance to states regarding access to testing and reducing disparities. This order requires the health and human services (HHS) secretary to plan for future public health threats and create five-year targets and budgets for achieving a sustainable public health workforce;
- Equitable Pandemic Response and Recovery, which establishes a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force that will recommend how agencies can best allocate COVID-19 resources, given the disproportionate impact of virus in certain communities. The task force will also develop recommendations for equitable disbursement of COVID-19 relief funding and recommendations for culturally aligned communication, messaging, and outreach to communities of color and other underserved populations;
- Sustainable Public Health Supply Chain, which calls for the administration to review the availability of critical materials, treatments, and supplies to combat COVID-19, including personal protective equipment and resources necessary for vaccine production and distribution. Further, the order tasks the administration with building infrastructure and responses to future pandemics;
- Support Governor’s Use of National Guard and Increase Reimbursement to States, which requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fund 100 percent of activities associated with all mission assignments for the use of the National Guard;
- Ensuring a Data-Driven Response to COVID-19, which calls on agencies to build a better public health infrastructure by coordinating the collection, provision, and analysis of data regarding COVID-19 and sharing this data with state, local, tribal, and territorial authorities;
- Economic Relief Related to COVID-19, which calls for agencies to identify actions they can take within existing authorities to address economic crisis resulting from pandemic; and
- Improving and Expanding Access to Care and Treatments for COVID-19, which requires agencies to accelerate the development of new therapies, including studies of the long-term impact of COVID-19, and ensure clinical trials include populations historically underrepresented in such trials. The executive order also:
- calls on the HHS secretary to make recommendations on how states and providers can increase health care workforce capacity;
- requires the administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to expand access to programs and services designed to meet the long-term health needs of patients recovering from COVID-19; and
- calls on the HHS secretary to evaluate the COVID-19 Uninsured Program (operated by the Health Resources and Services Administration) and promote insurance coverage for COVID-19 treatments and clinical care.
Health Equity and Nondiscrimination
Biden also released two orders to address equity and nondiscrimination:
- Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation, which enforces prohibitions on sex discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation; and
- Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, which calls for a federal government–wide approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.
In addition, the administration released immigration-related orders, including:
- Preserving and Fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which preserves and fortifies existing DACA policy and does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law; and
- Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to The United States, which revokes several executive orders and proclamations from the Trump administration that imposed a travel ban.
Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.