Swift Action: A Look at President Biden’s Health Care Executive Orders

Psychiatric Times, Vol 38, Issue 3, Volume 03,

What executive orders from President Biden will affect mental health care?

MEDICAL ECONOMICS

The newly minted White House administration wasted no time in enacting its health care agenda, as President Joseph R. Biden Jr signed a flood of executive orders during his first 48 hours in office. Among the top priorities are the nation’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response and mental health issues.

Here is a look at some of Biden’s actions since taking office:

IMPROVING AND EXPANDING ACCESS TO COVID-19 CARE AND TREATMENTS. This order directs officials to support studies and clinical trials for new COVID-19 interventions, create recommendations for expanding health care facility capacity, and improve access to quality and affordable treatments.

ENACTING DATA-DRIVEN RESPONSE TO COVID-19. The heads of all executive departments and agencies are ordered to help in the gathering and dissemination of COVID-19 data to assist in the pandemic response. Because this order also seeks to improve public health data collection and analytics going forward, it also orders them to help enhance data collection and collaboration capabilities in future public health threats.

SHORING UP THE PUBLIC HEALTH SUPPLY CHAIN. Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to inventory all COVID-19 response supplies, take steps to address pricing of pandemic response supplies, and facilitate the access to the strategic national stockpile by indigenous people.

PROTECTING WORKER HEALTH AND SAFETY. Using the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the secretary of labor will issue revised guidance to employers on workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION BASED ON GENDER IDENTITY AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION. Advocates and mental health care professionals believe this will help improve the overall well-being for LGBTQ populations.

OPENING A SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD FOR A NEW SUBSIDIZED HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN. This allows people who are uninsured to log on to the federal website and choose a health plan to obtain coverage, which especially has importance with the pandemic.

These are just a sample of the actions taken, and it is believed that Biden will continue to tackle mental health issues, including the opioid crisis. ❒

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