The claim: Biden’s executive order gives free health insurance
A Jan. 9 Facebook clip (direct link, archived link) shows President Joe Biden signing directives at the White House.
“Your 2023 Relief Package Is Here!,” reads the caption of the post. “President Biden signed Executive Order 14009 making Health Insurance FREE for qualifying Americans. Thanks to the Affordable Cart (sic) Act, American’s (sic) with less than $50k/year income now qualify to get Health Plans for as low as $0/month.”
The post generated over 60,000 views in less than two weeks.
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Our rating: False
Health policy experts told USA TODAY the executive order does not give Americans free health insurance. Rather, it aims to expand Affordable Care Act coverage and Medicaid to American families.
Biden doesn’t have the power to offer free health insurance
In 2021, Biden signed executive order 14009 aimed at strengthening Medicaid, a public health insurance program, and the Affordable Care Act, a federal statute designed to make health insurance affordable for low-income Americans.
Contrary to the post’s claim, the executive order does not give Americans free health insurance, according to Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University.
“In fact, it is not within the president’s power to provide all Americans with health insurance,” Gostin said. “That is the role of Congress. His order only tries to maximize coverage under existing law, both the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.”
The order requires heads of agencies to examine policies or practices that “may present unnecessary barriers to individuals and families” attempting to access either Medicaid or Affordable Care Act coverage. The order makes no reference to free health insurance coverage.
Fact check: False claim that Biden’s executive order requires surrendering human rights, ties to transhumanism
The Facebook video does not support the claim, either. It shows Biden signing executive orders and other directives related to issues such as immigration and the COVID-19 pandemic on Jan. 20, 2021.
Eligibility for Medicaid varies by state. In addition, what type of subsidy a person qualifies for under the Affordable Care Act depends on their income level.
USA TODAY has debunked other claims misinterpreting Biden’s executive orders, including baseless assertions that executive order 14081 declares that all Americans must surrender human rights and that executive order 14067 will implement a cash-free digital currency.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the claim for comment.
AFP Fact Check also debunked the claim.
Our fact-check sources:
- Lawrence Gostin, Jan. 25, Email exchange with USA TODAY
- Matthew Fiedler, Jan. 25, Phone interview with USA TODAY
- The White House (YouTube), Jan. 20, 2021, President Biden Signs Executive Orders and Other Presidential Actions
- White House, Jan. 28, 2021, Executive Order 14009—Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act January 28, 2021
- Healthcare.gov, accessed Jan. 25, Affordable Care Act (ACA)
- USA TODAY, Jan. 20, 2021, Joe Biden rejoins Paris Agreement, requires masks on federal property in swift Day 1 directives
- AFP Fact Check, Jan. 24, Biden executive order did not establish free health insurance
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