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Attorney General Josh Stein Opposes Federal Action Threatening Thousands of HHS Regulations

For Immediate Release:
Friday, December 4, 2020

Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today opposed a misguided proposal from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that would automatically expire any regulations that are not reviewed within a short time period. The rule would impact all 18,000 HHS regulations and put at risk critical programs including Medicaid, food safety, and medical and pharmaceutical research.

“This proposed rule from the federal government is reckless and comes at the worst possible moment,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Regulations from HHS provide federal funds that states need to deliver health services, and they set the framework for critical programs that keep people healthy. To arbitrarily expire them in a rush for no good reason puts people’s lives at risk. I urge HHS to rescind this irresponsible proposal.”

The unlawful rule gives the agency just two years to review the regulations. In a comment letter submitted to HHS, Attorney General Stein and a coalition of 24 other attorneys general argue that the Trump administration’s deregulation attempt will impede HHS’ work during a global pandemic and an upcoming presidential administration transition and make it nearly impossible to enact new pandemic-related regulations. In addition, the drastic scope of the rule will put trillions of dollars in federal funding that states rely on at risk.

The coalition argues that the proposed rule is unprecedented, threatens states’ health care systems, is legally questionable and deeply problematic, will drain agency resources, and creates significant uncertainty for state programs that would have to deal with the consequences if the federal regulations they rely on suddenly expire. And in the midst of the pandemic, the public only has 30 days to comment on the proposed rule.

Attorney General Stein is joined in submitting today’s comment letter by the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the comment letter is available here.


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