September 06, 2022
On August 3, 2022, President Biden signed an executive order on securing access to reproductive health care and other health care services. This is the second executive order issued by President Biden in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health (Dobbs) which eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion. It follows the executive order issued on July 8, 2022 aimed at protecting access to reproductive health care services.
The latest executive order directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to:
- Consider additional actions to advance access to reproductive health care services for patients traveling across state lines for medical care, including through Medicaid to the extent permitted under Federal law;
- Consider actions that advance the understanding of, and compliance with, Federal nondiscrimination laws by health care providers that receive Federal financial assistance (e.g., issuing technical assistance or other guidance; convening providers to educate them about compliance obligations and consequences of non-compliance); and
- Collect, evaluate, and analyze available research to measure the effect of access to reproductive health care on maternal health and other health outcomes.
This executive order is the latest step in the Biden Administration’s response to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision. Similar to President Biden’s prior executive order, employer group health plan sponsors are not directly impacted by this executive order, but plans could be subject to future guidance from HHS and other federal agencies in response to this executive order.
HHS has issued multiple pieces of clarifying guidance following the Dobbs decision and first executive order, which Business Group on Health has covered in recent articles and our July 2022 webinar. This second executive order also links the Biden Administration’s response to the Dobbs decision to other recent regulatory actions taken by HHS focused on ensuring civil rights protections in health care, including the recently-issued Notice of Proposed Rulemaking interpreting the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Section 1557 nondiscrimination provisions.
Employer group health plan sponsors continue to face uncertainty as they navigate the constantly evolving federal and state legal requirements associated with abortion, fertility, and other reproductive health coverages. Business Group on Health continues to urge federal actions to protect employer plans, employees and patients following the Dobbs decision. After submitting a letter requesting guidance to assist employer group health plans adjust to the post-Dobbs regulatory environment, the Business Group met with HHS and the Departments of Labor and Treasury to further advocate on behalf of employers. Business Group on Health will continue to monitor developments related to this executive order and other related matters, and provide updates on future developments.
- White House: Executive Order on Securing Access to Reproductive and Other Healthcare Services
- White House: Executive Order on Protecting Access to Reproductive Health Care Services
- White House: Fact Sheet on Executive Order Protecting Access to Reproductive Health Care
If you have questions, comments, or concerns about these or other regulatory and compliance issues, please contact us.
We provide this material for informational purposes only; it is not a substitute for legal advice.