Since taking office, President Joe Biden has made good on his campaign promises to change federal tone and action in response to Americans’ concerns about health care and racial equity. On January 28, 2021, Biden signed an executive order (EO) extending the timeline for more Americans to apply for and receive access to the Affordable Care Act, reiterating his commitment to the law known as Obamacare. Biden also signed an EO supporting women’s health by reinstating Title X protections.

The Biden-Harris administration will reopen enrollment to the Health Insurance Marketplace and take additional steps to strengthen Medicaid and ACA,” Biden said. “[We will] build on ACA, meet the healthcare needs created by the pandemic, reduce healthcare costs, protect access to reproductive health care, and make our healthcare system easier to navigate and more equitable.”

Two days prior, Biden had signed another series of EOs that addressed racial equity:

  • Called on the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to reform discriminatory housing practices and policies.
  • Directed the attorney general to decline to renew contracts with privately-operated criminal facilities.
  • Reformed the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development’s consultation process with Native American tribes.
  • Condemned racism, intolerance, and xenophobia toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

We need to make the issue of racial equity not just an issue for any one department of government. It has to be the business of the whole of government,” Biden said. “I’ve also asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to put out best practices for combating xenophobia in our national response to the COVID-19 coronavirus.”

Oncology nurses know firsthand how federal policies and actions affect patients and providers. No matter your position, politics, or personal interests, you can get involved in ONS advocacy efforts and have a role in influencing health policies.