After months of regulatory delays, the floodgates have apparently opened. The Health and Human Services Department delivered two major health reform rules to the Office of Management and Budget on Friday, the first in an anticipated stream of health regulation.
Many sources close to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told National Journal that the administration had a number of important health rules ready to go but was holding them back until after the election to avoid a political backlash. Now that President Obama has been reelected, they predicted those rules would start emerging, and fast. The forecast is about right. We are now three days postelection.
The content of the two rules that have gone to OMB have not been made public, but both relate to the insurance exchanges that states must build to sell health plans in 2014. It is not a surprise that exchange rules came first: States must tell HHS whether they plan to build their own exchange or let the federal government do it for them by November 16, next Friday. Many state officials have been complaining that it’s tough to make that decision without more details about how the various options would work.