HHS extends delay of controversial sunset rule through September as lawsuit continues

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) wants another delay to implementation of a controversial Trump-era rule that would require the agency to sunset regulations.

HHS issued a notice Thursday to delay the effective date of the sunset rule until Sept. 22. The rule was set to go into effect March 22. HHS said it needs more time to review comments on its proposed regulation that will repeal the rule permanently. 

The rule, released at the tail end of the Trump administration, calls for HHS to review every regulation. It would expire any rule 10 years after its release date unless HHS performs a review to determine whether it is still relevant or needs to be amended. 

The final rule gave HHS five years to review all rules that were 10 years or older. 

However, several healthcare groups including the American Lung Association sued to halt the rule in March 2021. The groups argued in court that the rule was a “ticking timebomb” that would drain HHS resources and was approved in violation of federal law. 

The Biden administration agreed with the criticisms and issued a proposed rule to get rid of the Trump-era regulation in October. 

HHS said Thursday that extending the effective date won’t create any harm as it “merely continues the status quo.”