President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed several executive orders that would impact the healthcare industry.
In addition to several actions to address the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden ordered federal agencies to review and possibly revise policies to advance racial equity and prevent and combat discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
The orders define "equity as the consistent and systematic fair, just and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities, such as Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and other persons of color; LGBTQ+ persons; people with disabilities; religious minorities, persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise affected by persistent poverty or inequality," Biden's transition team said in a statement.
The president also directed federal officials to end former President Donald Trump's plan to exclude non-citizens from the census and congressional apportionment, which could shape policy and how federal dollars are spent on healthcare and healthcare-related programs like Medicaid and social services. Biden also preserved and strengthened protections for young immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and reversed the travel ban from mostly majority-Muslim countries.
The American Medical Association supported the executive orders on Biden's first day in office, noting that many individuals affected by DACA area in the healthcare field or training for such professions.
"People with DACA status contribute to a diverse and culturally responsive physician workforce, which benefits all patients," American Medical Association President Dr. Susan Bailey said in a statement on Wednesday.
Biden will also reverse the previous administration's deregulatory agenda by withdrawing Trump's executive orders on the regulatory process and directing the White House budget office "to develop recommendations for improving and modernizing regulatory review," according to a statement.
"Regulations are an important tool for the federal government to address the crises facing the nation. The Trump administration unnecessarily hamstrung this critical tool by creating arbitrary obstacles to regulatory action," Biden's transition team said in a statement.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain will also issue a memo to freeze any new regulations ushered in during the end of Trump's term.
The pause will allow the incoming administration "to review any regulations that the Trump administration tried to finalize in its last days," Biden's transition team said in a statement. "This action will allow the Biden administration to prevent any detrimental so-called 'midnight regulations' from taking effect, while ensuring that urgent measures in the public's interest can proceed."
Katie Keith, principal at Keith Policy Solutions and an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, said the Biden administration has "no shortage of options" when it comes to the rules it could revisit. She thinks it will focus on recent changes to Section 1332 waivers that insurers and other industry groups claim would essentially privatize the exchanges and the "SUNSET" rule to review and eliminate old regulations. But other rules could be on the chopping block too.
"I'm not sure what they'll do with the prescription drug rules (most favored nation, drug pricing rebate, drug importation, etc.) or the insurer transparency rule," Keith said in an email.