‘Chaotic’ Health Care Rulemaking Looms After Supreme Court Hamstrings Federal Agencies

On June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court in two rulings eliminated a longstanding legal precedent that has protected regulations issued by federal agencies from a broad swath of legal challenges. Attorneys say rulemaking in health care will become more unpredictable as regulations are challenged — which could cost health plans, providers, and patients.

In their rulings in Relentless v. Department of Commerce and Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, the Supreme Court did away with “Chevron deference,” a legal concept that is over 40 years old. Chevron deference granted agencies the legal benefit of the doubt when they issued regulations that clarified parts of statute that Congress had left ambiguous. The premise behind the concept was that agency staff have subject matter expertise that Congress is unlikely to share, and that Congress couldn’t be expected to continually update statutes in order to address every emerging issue of importance to a specific sector of the economy.

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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