the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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Reducing Costs and Burdens: Further Progress in Regulatory Lookback Effort

Summary: 
Over the last few years, Federal agencies have been implementing the President’s call for a government-wide review of existing regulations, identifying rules to be changed or removed because they are out-of-date, unnecessary, or overly burdensome. As part of this retrospective review, or “regulatory lookback,” agencies across the Federal government have identified hundreds of initiatives to reduce burdens and save taxpayer dollars. In fact, the retrospective review effort to date includes actions that will save more than $13 billion dollars in the near term, with more savings on the way.

Over the last few years, Federal agencies have been implementing the President’s call for a government-wide review of existing regulations, identifying rules to be changed or removed because they are out-of-date, unnecessary, or overly burdensome.  As part of this retrospective review, or “regulatory lookback,” agencies across the Federal government have identified hundreds of initiatives to reduce burdens and save taxpayer dollars. In fact, the retrospective review effort to date includes actions that will save more than $13 billion dollars in the near term, with more savings on the way.

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services (CMS) issued a final rule to reform regulations that the agency found to be unnecessary, obsolete, or excessively burdensome on hospitals and other health care providers.  This final rule streamlines health and safety standards that health care providers must meet in order to participate in Medicare and Medicaid.  One key provision in the final rule will specifically reduce burdens on small critical access hospitals and rural health clinics. CMS projects that the rule changes it is issuing today will save more than $3 billion over the next five years for the American health care system.  

Today’s CMS action is just the latest example of an agency eliminating requirements it has determined are no longer necessary.  Another example of recent agency action includes the Department of Transportation’s proposed rule issued last summer to streamline requirements for truck drivers and motor carriers that would ensure drivers only have to file inspection reports when they identify vehicle problems or have reason to believe problems might exist. When finalized, this change is estimated to save tens of millions of hours in paperwork burden each year, resulting in more than $1 billion in annual paperwork time savings.

Ensuring regulatory flexibility for businesses and reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens through the retrospective review process are top priorities for the President and the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.  And the retrospective review is a critical part of the Administration's regulatory efforts to promote economic growth and opportunity while protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the American people.  We will continue to work with our colleagues at Federal agencies on this effort and on ways to further institutionalize retrospective review as an essential component of government regulatory policy. 

Howard Shelanski is Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget.