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The Sun Sets on the Controversial SUNSET Rule

by | May 31, 2022 | Articles, News, Open Content

HHS pulls the plug on a Trump rule requiring regulations to expire automatically after 10 years.

It’s official. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it’s withdrawing a Trump era rule known as “SUNSET” (short for Securing Updated and Necessary Statutory Evaluations Timely), that would have required the department to eliminate existing regulations after 10 years unless it reviewed them within five years of adoption and made the case to justify keeping them in place. 

While it refers to the organic elimination of regulation, the “SUNSET” acronym also describes how the Trump administration sought to put the rule into place literally the day before President Biden was sworn into office. HHS completed the rulemaking at a breakneck speed of less than three months.

The rule was slated to take effect March 22, 2022. However, HHS postposed implementation by one year, after a coalition of health care organizations, including the American Hospital Association, sued HHS to stop its implementation. According to the lawsuit, “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.” In the May 26 Federal Register, HHS published a notice that it’s withdrawing the rule, as of July 26, 2022.