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January 21, 2021

New Administration Uses Executive Powers to Advance Health Care Agenda

Shortly after the inaugural ceremony, President Joe Biden made good on his promise to issue a series of Executive Orders to jump-start his presidency.  Many of these orders will be issued to advance his health care agenda and are of importance to the Endocrine Society.

The first orders issued addressed the following priorities:

Health Care

  • 100-day mask requirement in federal facilities and interstate travel
  • Government response to COVID

Equity and Equality

  • Government response to advance racial equity
  • Prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation

The Environment

  • Rejoining the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Immigration

  • Preserve and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
  • Rescinding the immigration ban on Muslim countries

Other

  • Extending the pause of student loan repayment
  • Review and improve the regulatory process

In the days and weeks ahead, we expect additional actions, including COVID-19, the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and Title X that will demonstrate President Biden’s desire to act swiftly, without waiting for congressional approval. Responding to the pandemic will take center stage for the Biden Administration and Congress, and the Endocrine Society will continue to advocate for increasing the priority for people with T1 diabetes to the vaccine, supplemental funding for research and research recovery, extended coverage for telehealth, support for physician practices, and increased access to PPE. 

New Nominees to Administration Positions Affecting Endocrine Society Priorities 

In the last week President Biden has named several additional nominees to key Administration positions, several of whom, if confirmed, the Endocrine Society would need to work with.  These include:

 

  • Rachel Levine, for Assistant Secretary of Health – PresidentBiden nominated Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s top health official, as his assistant secretary of health. Dr. Levine, a pediatrician, would become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  As Pennsylvania’s secretary of health, Levine has risen to national prominence for leading the state’s public health response to the coronavirus pandemic, despite repeated and ugly attacks on her gender identity.  We have worked with Dr. Levine on transgender and diabetes issues.  She spoke during a plenary at ENDO and during one of our educational briefings for Congress.
  • Image Dr. Rachel Levine speaks at an Endocrine Society congressional briefing in 2018 titled “Transgender Health: Meeting Patient Needs Through Research and Improved Access to Care.”
  • Eric Lander for Director of the Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) – President Biden nominated Eric Lander, a mathematician and geneticist who helped map the human genome and founded the Broad Institute, a Boston-based biomedical research center famous for work on the gene-editing technology CRISPR-Cas9.  Dr. Lander, who also is a biology professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School, previously served on President Barack Obama’s council of science advisers. His background in life sciences is unusual for the top job at the OSTP, which has typically gone to physicists who are able to advise the president on issues concerning nuclear weapons and related technologiesIn addition, in a move that signals the importance of science to the incoming administration, President Biden announced his plan to make the OSTP a Cabinet-level agency.  By raising the president’s science adviser to Cabinet level, President Biden set a stark contrast with the Trump administration, which waited 19 months to nominate an OSTP director and operated the office with a smaller staff than the Obama administration did. Kelvin Droegemeier, a research meteorologist, who served in that role, was not viewed as particularly influential in the White House.
  • Michael Regan for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)President Biden has nominated Michael Regan to head the EPA.  Regan became environmental chief in North Carolina in 2017 and made a name for himself by pursuing cleanups of industrial toxins and helping the low-income and minority communities hit hardest by pollution. If confirmed by the Senate, Regan would take over the EPA after four years that have seen the Trump administration weaken or eliminate key public health and environmental protections.  The Endocrine Society would like to work more closely with the EPA on issues related to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including regulation of PFAS, and other issues related environmental impacts on human health.
  • Francis Collins for Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Meanwhile, NIH Director Francis Collins, a geneticist-physician who also spearheaded the Human Genome Project, will remain in his current role.  Dr. Collins was appointed to the job in 2009 by Obama and continued in his role under President Donald Trump. As a presidential appointee, he was required to submit his resignation to the new President, but President Biden did not accept it recognizing Dr. Collins as an able leader, renown scientist, and effective communicator.  In addition, as the country battles the pandemic, President Biden did not need another confirmation battle, particularly for the Director of NIH.  The Endocrine Society has worked closely with Dr. Collins over the year, sharing our research priorities and our concerns.  He has also presented at ENDO and met with our leadership to discuss the endocrine research agenda.
Endocrine Society Plans “Virtual” Hill Day to Focus on Funding for Research

The Endocrine Society is planning our annual Researcher Hill Day that will be held virtually on March 16, 2021 to accommodate restrictions related to COVID-19.  The Hill Day will focus on our research priorities and advocating for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health. Endocrine Society staff will coordinate teleconference and zoom meetings for participants with their representative and senators. Participants’ time commitment would include attending a 30-minute prep session zoom call before the Hill day to go over talking points, what a virtual congressional meeting may look like, and allow you to ask questions you may have and to participate in 1-3 meetings with congressional offices.  If you are interested in participating, please contact [email protected] by January 28.

 

 

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Positive Impact of a Healthy Lifestyle

Dr. Erta emphasizes the positive impact of a healthy lifestyle, healthy diet and weight loss, importance of diabetes prevention, and the newest medical technologies in diabetology.

Gita Erta, MD

Dr. Erta emphasizes the positive impact of a healthy lifestyle, healthy diet and weight loss, importance of diabetes prevention, and the newest medical technologies in diabetology.

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