HHS Moves to Undo Trump’s Retrospective Review of Agency Rules

Oct. 28, 2021, 1:41 PM

The Health and Human Services Department on Thursday moved to withdraw or repeal a last-minute Trump administration rule that would have caused health regulations to expire if they weren’t reviewed every 10 years.

The HHS released a proposal that would do away with the rule, (RIN 0991-AC24), which was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 19, one day before President Joe Biden took office. Under the rule, 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 on March 18, 2021, delayed the effective date for the rule for one year—from March 19, 2021, until March 22, 2022.

An array of health-care and public interest groups had 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 sstein@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloombergindustry.com; Karl Hardy at khardy@bloomberglaw.com

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