In their four years in office, the Trump administration made sweeping changes that affected the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, abortion and transgender rights, in many cases reversing the efforts of the Obama administration. Most of the measures were done through executive orders and regulation since it was tough to get any bills through Congress, particularly after the Democrats took control of the House after the 2018 midterm elections.
Biden’s health officials will likely be active, as well, but it will take time for all their actions to take effect.
“They don’t have a massive eraser pen. They’ve got to go through the rule-making process,” said Allison Orris, a former Obama administration official and counsel with Manatt Health, a professional services firm. “They are going to have to think about what comes first, second and third and be realistic about timing.”
Here are seven Trump health care measures the incoming Biden administration is expected to reverse.
Biden’s Health and Human Services secretary would be able to unwind the approvals, but it is a complicated task, said Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University. The secretary would have to determine whether to withdraw permission for the entire waiver or just certain features.
Several of these waivers included other provisions that could make it harder for low-income Americans to retain Medicaid coverage, such as lockouts for non-payment of premiums.
While secretaries have the power to reverse waiver approvals, it isn’t typical. More common is setting new guidelines for when a waiver comes up for renewal and for new applications.
Short-term health plans
“The short-term plans have important symbolic significance because they restrict coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, which was a prominent political issue in the campaign,” said Larry Levitt, executive vice president for health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Affordable Care Act funding cuts
Trump officials also cut the open enrollment period on the federal exchange to six weeks, half of what it was before.
The Biden administration is expected to reverse all these measures to curtail Obamacare.
Title X abortion referral restriction
Mexico City Policy
Based on data from 2013 through 2015, global health funding provided through contracts could account for almost 40% of all funding affected by the expanded rule, Jen Kates, senior vice president and director of global health and HIV policy at Kaiser, said at the time.
Planned Parenthood funding
Biden’s LGBTQ policy plan also says he will work to expand funding for mental health services for LGBTQ Americans and that his administration plans to automatically enroll low-income LGBTQ people in the public option, once it’s created, if they live in rural areas in states that didn’t expand Medicaid.