January 9, 2012

Regulatory Analysis and the Affordable Care Act’s Interim Final Rules — Beware the Rush to Presumption

Editor’s Note:  Five related Mercatus publications by Christopher J. Conover and Jerry Ellig are attached below:  Beware the Rush to Presumption, Parts A-C; The Poor Quality of Affordable Care Act Regulations; and Rushed Regulation Reform.

From:  Mercatus Center, George Mason University

Beware the Rush to Presumption

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 is generating numerous new regulations that will significantly affect the way Americans access health care. But a new study by Jerry Ellig of the Mercatus Center and Christopher Conover of Duke University finds that in 2010, in the rush to implement key regulations for the ACA, agencies sped through the process of regulatory analysis. When compared to regulatory analysis for economically significant regulations in previous years, the regulatory analysis accompanying the ACA rules was substantially lower quality and produced poorly substantiated claims about the ACA’s benefits and costs.

In this respect, the ACA regulations resemble the Bush administration’s first major homeland security regulations. Both reflected a president’s signature high-priority issue, but both were accompanied by low-quality regulatory analysis that reads more like an attempt to justify, rather than inform, decisions.

Ellig and Conover produced three working papers and two short policy briefs analyzing the shortcomings of the analysis of the ACA regulations and recommend ways to reform the regulatory process to encourage the use of better regulatory analysis that improves rulemaking in the future.



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