HHS releases final rule requiring once-a-decade regulatory reviews

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday released a final rule requiring the agency to review its regulations once every ten years.

If a regulation is not reviewed, it may expire, said HHS.

The Securing Updated and Necessary Statutory Evaluations Timely, or “SUNSET,” rule, means that rules that are issued by an HHS component that are more than ten years old will need to be reviewed within five years.

“By terminating burdensome regulations unless their necessity is publicly demonstrated to the American people, our SUNSET rule will prove the boldest and most significant regulatory reform effort ever undertaken by the federal government,” said HHS Chief of Staff Brian Harrison.  


HHS representatives ballyhooed the final rule in a press call Friday, describing it as “unprecedented” and pointing to previous administrations’ efforts to institutionalize retrospective reviews.  

The rule, said Harrison, represented the “most significant regulatory reform in the history of the federal government.”  

With some exceptions, the new rule mandates all HHS regulations to be subject to a two-step review.

First, they must be assessed as to whether they have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.   

If so, reviewers must consider