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Biden bolsters the Affordable Care Act, rescinds restrictions on reproductive rights

President Biden on Thursday focused on his campaign pledge to strengthen the Affordable Care Act. The president also rescinded the so-called "global gag rule" that bars U.S. funding for health groups abroad that offer abortion counseling, and he took steps to restore federal funding for groups making abortion referrals in the United States. White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Help for health care, that issue topped today's agenda at the Biden White House.

    Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor has our report.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Today, President Biden focused on his campaign pledge to strengthen Obamacare.

  • President Joseph Biden:

    There's nothing new that we're doing here, other than restoring the Affordable Care Act and restoring the Medicaid to the way it was before Trump became president.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    In the Oval Office, he said the that effort more is urgent than ever.

  • President Joseph Biden:

    Of all times that we need to reinstate access to, affordability of, and extend access to Medicaid is now, in the middle of this COVID crisis.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    His first action, expanding enrollment. Beginning February 15, healthcare.gov, the federal online insurance marketplace, will open an additional sign-up period.

    The Kaiser Family Foundation has found that 15 million uninsured Americans are still eligible for that coverage. But, in December, the regular enrollment window closed. And former President Trump declined to reopen it.

  • Former President Donald TrumpĀ :

    What we want to do is terminate it and give great health care.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    During his term, Trump repeatedly took steps to try to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and there's a case pending in the U.S. Supreme Court that could lead to its demise.

    Meanwhile, President Biden has also ordered action to roll back other Trump policies, including work requirements in some states, as a condition for low-income people to enroll in Medicaid.

    And the president moved to reverse two policies on abortion. He rescinded the so-called global gag rule that bars U.S. funding for health groups abroad that offer abortion counseling. And he directed steps toward restoring federal funding for Planned Parenthood and other groups making abortion referrals in the U.S.

    At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, two of the new president's Cabinet nominees made pitches for new economic stimulus.

    There was Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, nominated for secretary of housing and urban development. She told her Senate confirmation hearing that full recovery requires greatly expanded housing aid.

  • Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio:

    Whatever it takes, we cannot afford to allow people, in the midst of a pandemic, to be put in the streets. I just believe that extraordinary times take extraordinary action.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Cecilia Rouse, tapped to head the Council of Economic Advisers, defended the Biden plan to spend $1.9 trillion.

    Cecilia Rouse If we don't, we run the risk of actually finding ourselves in a downward spiral, because the capacity to deal with our debt is not only the amount that we spend, but the size of our economy.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Today, Democratic leaders said that, if Republicans refuse to support the stimulus plan, they will try to push it through anyway.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Yamiche Alcindor.

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