An April 2022 Biden-Harris administration executive order on Continuing to Strengthen Americans’ Access to Affordable, Quality Health Coverage will protect and strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid. The order directed federal agencies and departments to review existing language and correct regulatory wording that might be inconsistent with the goals of offering more affordable access to health care.

“With the addition of Missouri and Oklahoma, two states that expanded Medicaid last year, nearly 19 million low-income Americans are enrolled in ACA’s Medicaid expansion coverage, adding up to a record nearly 80 million children, pregnant women, seniors, people with disabilities, and other low-income Americans covered by Medicaid,” the White House said.

According to the White House, the executive order proposes a rule to fix the ACA’s family glitch, which would “save hundreds of thousands of families hundreds of dollars a month.” The White House said the glitch affects about 5 million people, making it impossible for those families to use a premium tax credit through their jobs to purchase affordable, high-quality Marketplace plans. If the proposed rule is finalized, family members of workers who are offered affordable self-only coverage but unaffordable family coverage may qualify for premium tax credits to buy ACA coverage.

The executive order also directs federal agencies to expand affordable, quality health coverage by:

  • Making it easier for people to enroll in and keep their coverage
  • Helping people better understand their coverage options so they can pick the best one for them
  • Strengthening the generosity of benefits
  • Improving the comprehensiveness of coverage and protecting Americans from low-quality coverage
  • Expanding eligibility and lowering costs for Americans with ACA, Medicare, or Medicaid coverage
  • Improving access to healthcare providers and linkages between the healthcare system and communities
  • Reducing the burden of medical debt

“Despite progress in making health care more affordable and accessible to millions of Americans, nearly 4 million Americans continue to be locked out of Medicaid expansion because they reside in 1 of the 12 states that have failed to adopt ACA’s Medicaid expansion,” President Biden said in the executive order. “In addition, millions more continue to struggle to obtain the care they need, to go without health coverage, or to be enrolled in coverage that is insufficient to meet their needs. The effects of being uninsured or underinsured can be devastating financially, as families without access to affordable coverage may accrue high levels of medical debt.”