“An Ambitious Agenda”: How the Biden Administration will Change Health Policy

When Kevin Schulman, MD, began his Medical Grand Rounds presentation on the morning of January 20, Donald Trump was still president. By the time he had finished, Joe Biden had been sworn in.

The transition ushered in new leadership, new ideas, and an entirely new approach towards health policy. “There are going to be lots of changes,” said Schulman, a professor of hospital medicine and economics. “The new administration is going in a very different direction.”

Similar Challenges, New Approaches

Biden has inherited many challenges from his predecessor: A raging COVID-19 pandemic, issues with vaccine supply and distribution, glaring health inequities, and heightened political divides.

Schulman expects Biden to address these issues with a combination of short- and long-term strategies, including policy changes, increased spending, reliance on scientific expertise (he has placed career scientists at the helm of many agencies), sweeping public health campaigns, federal mandates, and swift executive actions.

And as the administration segues from campaigning into governing, Schulman predicts that health care will take center stage. “It’s a pretty ambitious agenda. We heard a lot about heath care during the campaign. There are lots of questions about equity, what a health care system is designed to do, and accountability for health care systems and providers.”