HHS delays rule that could void thousands of regulations

HHS on March 18 postponed a final rule that would require the agency to review its existing regulations within several years and to invalidate those that aren't reviewed. 

HHS postponed the final rule by one year, pending judicial review, according to the American Hospital Association. The move comes after a coalition of health groups and others sued HHS March 9 over the rule. 

The lawsuit, pending in U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, alleges that thousands of HHS regulations could disappear because of the Securing Updated and Necessary Statutory Evaluations Timely, or SUNSET, rule, which was finalized the day before President Joe Biden's inauguration. 

"The rule does not even specify which of the department's 18,000 existing regulations are exempted under the limited exceptions. In other words, the outgoing administration planted a ticking time bomb set to go off in five years unless HHS, beginning right now, devotes an enormous amount of resources to an unprecedented and infeasible task," the complaint states. 

The AHA has urged HHS to withdraw the rule, arguing it doesn't provide an adequate mechanism for obtaining public input on the substance of the regulations reviewed. 

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