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CBO: H.R. 4078 Could Slow PPACA Implementation

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Budget analysts at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) are not daring to estimate how much H.R. 4078 would increase the federal budget deficit, but they say it could have big, hard to predict effects on revenue, spending and implementation of legislation.

Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., has introduced H.R. 4078, the Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act bill of 2012.

Griffin, who believes new regulations and changes in regulations can hurt the economy, wants the bill to restrict federal agencies ability to implement most significant regulatory actions until the unemployment rate falls below 6%.

The bill would include exceptions for regulatory actions needed to respond to an imminent threat to health or safety, to enforce criminal laws, to protect national security, or to implement an international trade agreement, CBO officials say in a summary.

The president could ask Congress for fast action on waivers for regulatory actions not allowed by one of those four exceptions.

The bill would define a “significant regulatory action” to be “any federal regulatory action that is likely to result in a rule or guidance” that might have an annual cost exceeding $100 million; hurt “the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, small entities, or state, local, or tribal governments or communities”; “materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs”; or “raise novel legal or policy issues.”

If implemented as written, the bill could have effects such as preventing annual Medicare services payment level updates, such as the pending cuts in Medicare physician reimbursement rates, officials say.

The bill also could delay implementation of laws such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), including the provisions calling for the creation of a new system of health insurance exchanges, officials say.

The House Judiciary Committee marked up the bill and approved it by a 15-13 vote in March.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also has jurisdiction over the bill.


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