CHICAGO — The American Medical Association (AMA) today applauded the Biden Administration's first-day actions that tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, re-engage with the World Health Organization (WHO), and advance racial equity, among other policies. The executive orders, memoranda, and other actions are first steps on issues critical to improving the health of the nation.
Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic
Launching a "100 Days Masking Challenge"
Re-engaging with the WHO
Coordinating a unified federal response to COVID-19
"Defeating COVID-19 requires bold, coordinated federal leadership and strong adherence to the public health steps we know stop the spread of this virus — wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, and washing hands," said AMA President Susan R. Bailey, M.D. "We are pleased by the Biden Administration's steps today, including universal mask wearing within federal jurisdictions, providing federal leadership for COVID-19 response, and re-engaging with the World Health Organization. Taking these actions on day one of the Administration sends the right message — that our nation is laser focused on stopping the ravages of COVID-19."
Rejoining the Paris Agreement on climate change
"Rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement is a critical step to demonstrate American leadership in the prevention of the devastating health harms of climate change," Dr. Bailey said. "Climate change has massive public health implications, with disproportionate impacts on vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly, and the poor. We are encouraged by today's action by the Biden Administration to rejoin the world community in this monumental global effort."
Rescinding the exclusion of undocumented aliens from the Census
Preserving and fortifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program
Rescinding the immigration ban on Muslim countries
"The AMA strongly opposed the previous administration's efforts to rescind DACA and was part of the successful Supreme Court case overturning that decision," said Dr. Bailey. "Today, thousands of Dreamers are working in, or training to join, health care professions and our country is in need of their services in the fight against COVID-19. Giving Dreamers certainty about their legal status is a critical step in the right direction by the Biden Administration. People with DACA status contribute to a diverse and culturally responsive physician workforce, which benefits all patients."
Prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation
"The AMA believes that LGBTQ+ individuals must be protected from workplace discrimination in order to prevent negative health outcomes," said Dr. Bailey. "We were proud to join 15 other leading health organizations in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the recent Title VII case, and we are encouraged by today's action by the Biden Administration to ensure equality. The AMA supports access to quality, evidence-based health care for all people, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, and we will continue to work diligently at all levels to expand access to health care, reduce stigma in treating patients with unique needs, and break down discriminatory barriers to care."