The White House quietly reported last week that the kinds of regulations President Donald Trump has targeted for elimination actually saved the government 12 times as much as they cost.
But the costs and benefits of many key health regulations — including the 2016 final rule for skilled nursing providers’ participation in Medicare — weren’t fully outlined in the report. The draft document was prepared after an annual review by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, an agency within the White House Office of Management and Budget.
The report to Congress is mandatory, but it was delayed considerably this year. The report reviewed major regulations issued from Oct. 1, 2006, through Sept. 30, 2016.
Only major regulations for which agencies estimated and monetized both benefits and costs were included. Estimated annual benefits totaled between $219 billion and $695 billion, while the annual costs were estimated between $59 billion and $88 billion, the report said.
The report undercuts the Trump administration’s deregulation initiatives because protecting the public and environment significantly outweigh the costs to corporations, Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen, told Bloomberg News.
“Every year that the government has calculated the costs and benefits of federal regulations, it always has shown that health, safety and environmental protections are one of the best investments we can make — with returns on investment that would make Fortune 500 companies jealous,” Narang said.
The report includes benefit or cost information for only 137 rules, and OMB insists it is trying to collect more data.
While the analysis seems to tout the advantage of regulatory controls, Trump’s effort to cut them via a standing executive order is holding up in court. A federal district judge Monday rejected a legal challenge to a January 2017 order that directs HHS and other agencies to identify two existing rules for potential repeal in exchange for every new rule they issue.