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HHS Delays Trump’s Retrospective Review of All Agency Rules

March 18, 2021, 8:36 PM

The Health and Human Services Department on Thursday delayed until 2022 a rule that would cause health regulations to expire if they aren’t reviewed every 10 years.

The rule, (RIN 0991-AC24), published in the Federal Register Jan. 19, one day before President Joe Biden took office. Under it, the HHS would have had five years to assess regulations that are more than 10 years old, and the department could have extended that deadline one time per regulation, for up to a year.

The final rule exempted certain Food and Drug Administration regulations and annual Affordable Care Act rules, in addition to procedural rules, regulations issued jointly with other agencies, and regulations around internal management.

The Biden administration delayed the effective date for the rule for one year—from March 19, 2021, until March 22, 2022. The administration said it made the decision to allow a legal challenge to the law to proceed.

An array of health-care and public interest groups challenged the rule in U.S. District Court in California’s Northern District on March 9, saying its impact is “vast and unprecedented” and would terminate more than 17,000 health regulations by 2026. The plaintiffs—which include Santa Clara County, Calif.; the Center for Science in the Public Interest; and the American Lung Association—say it creates “incalculable costs and chaos” by placing highly technical rules on a rescission list.

The Trump administration said it was finalizing the regulation during the Covid-19 pandemic because the first reviews weren’t due until 2026, and agency employees would have “also been able to continue moving forward on a range of priorities to enhance and protect the health and well-being of the American people.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Shira Stein in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at; Karl Hardy at