The first full week of the Biden presidency has unfolded with a certain rhythm, with each day putting a spotlight on a new policy theme. President Biden has addressed American manufacturing, racial equity and climate change since Monday.
Thursday is health care day.
In the afternoon, Mr. Biden is scheduled to sign executive actions, including one that will reopen enrollment in many of the Affordable Care Act marketplaces so that Americans without health coverage can sign up — a move intended in part to help those who lost coverage during the coronavirus pandemic.
The themed days are a way the new president and his team draw attention to the White House’s early priorities. And after a campaign in which Republicans sought to portray Mr. Biden as a sedentary figure confined to his basement, the daily appearances — and the flurry of executive orders — show him taking swift action in a variety of areas.
Among the actions slated for Thursday is reinstating global protections for women’s reproductive health care by eliminating the rule that prohibited the granting of American foreign aid to health providers abroad that offer abortion counseling. The Trump administration reinstated this Reagan-era policy, and the Biden administration is reversing it.
On Wednesday, he signed a series of executive actions related to climate change and science, and two top officials working on climate issues, John F. Kerry and Gina McCarthy, appeared at the daily White House briefing to discuss the subject with journalists.
But there are limits to what Mr. Biden can do by himself through executive action, and Thursday’s health care actions are no exception.
The step of reopening Obamacare marketplaces is a small and temporary one in the context of the president’s overall agenda, which calls for bolstering the Affordable Care Act and creating an optional government health plan that consumers can purchase, known as a public option.
To realize his full vision on health care, Mr. Biden will need Congress to take action. And past battles on Capitol Hill — including the failed effort in the first year of President Donald J. Trump’s administration to repeal the Affordable Care Act — have proved just how difficult it can be to pass far-reaching health care legislation.
Eileen Sullivan contributed reporting.