The New Health Care Battlefront
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Three years ago, Congress passed the hotly debated and contested Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). While the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the law, many agree that significant revisions are necessary. The Chamber is working to bring about changes through the regulatory process and ease the burden, especially for small businesses and employees.
The 2010 health care statute—with its vague and often conflicting provisions and nearly 700 instances of instructing the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to issue implementing regulations—is a prime example of Congress’ reckless deference to regulatory agencies in the policymaking process. Now, more than ever, it is critical for the business community to monitor, engage, and—to the extent possible—direct the regulatory process. The Chamber is doing just that with the health care law, among others.
Since the enactment of the health care law, the Chamber has weighed in at nearly every opportunity, filing 56 comment letters as of the end of January 2013 in response to complex proposed rules, notices, and guidance issued by the administration. As a result, important changes and modifications to the law have been enacted.
We’re also challenging the process, not just the substance, by which regulations are drafted and implemented. Agencies are cutting back the time during which the public can provide feedback on proposed rules. How can bureaucrats possibly understand how their work will impact employers and employees if they tune them out?
In addition to engaging in the regulatory process, we will pursue a mix of private sector-led improvements as well as new legislative solutions that control costs, improve access, ensure quality, and promote wellness. In the next round of health care reform, the private sector and the free market—not Congress and the agencies—must be the focal point.