On Jan. 20, Joe Biden was officially sworn in as the 46th president and after his speech took immediate executive actions. Included in the list was a regulatory freeze; President Biden signed an executive order halting the finalization of any currently proposed rules from federal agencies, including from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The freeze will allow Biden’s team to evaluate each proposed rule and make changes or remove them from the Federal Register and add 60 additional days of review for rules that were finalized but are not yet implemented.

For rules that were finalized, the extension of the implementation time allows the Biden Administration to reverse them or develop changes through the rulemaking process. Proposed rules do not need to go through the full rulemaking process to be removed from the Federal Register. Biden also issued an executive order calling for a comprehensive review of the rulemaking process.

In addition, Biden signed an executive order “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation,” which directed every department to review existing policies that may involve gender discrimination. This will likely include an HHS review of the section 1557 rule finalized by the Trump Administration in 2020, which also included the repeal of the top 15 languages tagline requirement for dental plan publications. In 2019, NADP commented in support of the tagline repeal, but made no comment on the other portions of the rule and reiterated the industry’s commitment to civil rights and inclusion. NADP will continue to monitor developments on this issue and will provide updates as they emerge.

Link: Full Reg Freeze Executive Order Text

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