The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has just published a document that could affect how much time agents, insurers, consumers and employers spend agonizing over paperwork for years to come: an informal guide to estimating the impact of new HHS regulations and programs.
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The guide simply “represents the current thinking of” HHS on the regulatory impact analysis process, and “it does not establish any requirements for any person,” officials say in the acknowledgements.
Officials at the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, an arm of HHS that has often published commentaries supporting the Affordable Care Act, hired outside consultants to create the guide. HHS officials in the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump could choose to ignore the guide.
But even if Trump administration officials end up creating a new guide, they could use the Obama-era version to figure out how they want to handle the many federal impact assessment programs.
One major impact assessment program, the Paperwork Reduction Act, requires HHS and HHS agencies to put new information collection efforts through reviews, and to review existing information collection efforts every three years.
Another impact assessment program requires agencies to estimate how much a big new regulation might help or hurt small businesses.
The authors of the new guide talk generally about how to estimate the amount of time and money that impacted people and entities will need to comply with new federal requirements.