Monday, November 1, 2021

Very Very Brief Blog: HHS to rescind Trump rule that would "sunset" all health regulations

To quote Zach Brennan at Endpoints News (here):

"HHS is proposing to withdraw a Trump-era final rule that would have sunset thousands of FDA and other public health agency rules based on how long they’ve been in place."

It was a use it or lose it proposal, sort of like zero-base budgeting; if you haven't reviewed a regulation in 10 years, it's gone.   Read the rescission regulation here (October 29, 2021, 86 FR 59906).  Comments to December 28.

The original rule was finalized right at the very end of the Trump administration, on January 19, 2021 (find it at 86FR5694).   SUNSET - Securing Updated (and) Necessary Statutory Evaluations Timely.  

The original draft was November 4, 2020, and HHS held a hearing on the topic November 23, 2020.  A transcript (145pp) of the November public hearing is available (here).  The public meeting opened with an un-footnoted citation to Harvard's Prof. Cass Sunstein on the importance of reviewing all regulations, since at the time of issuance their benefits are necessarily speculative.  HHS remarks, "Professor Sunstein described this as one of the most important steps imaginable for regulatory reform, not least because it can reduce cumulative burdens and promote the goal of simplification. He has noted that agency's failure, until very recently, to gather, let alone act on retrospective reviews is an astonishing fact."

See Sunstein's books, Simpler: Future of Government (Simon & Schuster. 2013). The Cost-Benefit Revolution (Penguin, 2018), Too Much Information (MIT, 2020), Law and Leviathan: Redeeming the Administrative State (Harvard, 2020). Sunstein worked for the Obama White House, 2009-2012.