HHS further delays rule that could void thousands of regulations

HHS will further delay the start date on a rule that would require the department to eliminate existing regulations after 10 years unless the department reviewed them and could justify keeping the regulation in place, according to an March 3 Federal Register notice.

The Securing Updated and Necessary Statutory Evaluations Timely, or SUNSET rule, was finalized by HHS a day before President Joe Biden's inauguration. The policy was slated to take effect in March 2021, but HHS postponed the final rule until March of this year.

Now, the rule will be delayed by another six months to Sept. 22, pending judicial review, HHS said.

The American Hospital Association and other health groups sued HHS in March 2021 over the rule. In the lawsuit, the health groups called the rule a "ticking timebomb" as thousands of HHS regulations could disappear because of it.

In October 2021, HHS proposed repealing the sunset rule. The agency has received approximately 80 comments on the proposal to revoke the rule and is reviewing the feedback as it develops a final rule.

"While HHS does not concede that plaintiffs would establish irreparable harm in litigation, HHS agrees that it is appropriate to postpone the effective date of the SUNSET final rule to preserve the status quo and to ensure that HHS has time to evaluate the rule before it takes effect to avoid the possibility of confusion among the regulated community," the notice said.

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