Senator Orrin Hatch and nine other Republicans asked for a delay of new U.S. rules for health-insurance exchanges and other parts of the Affordable Care Act, saying the public isn’t being given enough time to comment.
The 30-day comment period on the regulations makes it “extremely burdensome, if not nearly impossible, to formulate an accurate and instructive response,” the senators said in a letter today to the U.S. health, treasury and labor secretaries. The period should be extended to at least 60 days, they said.
The Obama administration has released four regulations guiding development of state-run health-insurance markets that add a total of 704 pages of new rules costing about $900 million, the senators said. Three of the regulations were held by the White House since August and released only after President Barack Obama’s Nov. 6 re-election, with 30 days to comment, the senators said.
“Such haste raises concerns that politics are being put before policy,” the senators said in their letter.
Politics didn’t influence the timing of the rules, Gary Cohen, who directs the U.S. health agency’s Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, said today at a hearing in Washington.
Once the government formally decides to implement a regulation, individuals, companies and other institutions are given time to voice their opinions and recommendations before the new rules take effect. This comment period typically lasts 30 to 90 days and can lead to changes in the regulation to address concern raised by the public.