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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Upcoming Rules Pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: The 2012 Unified Agenda



Maeve P. Carey
Analyst in Government Organization and Management

Michelle D. Christensen
Analyst in Government Organization and Management


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, as amended) was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. ACA is a comprehensive overhaul of the health care system that includes such provisions as the expansion of eligibility for Medicaid, amendments to Medicare that are intended to reduce its growth, an individual mandate for the purchase of health insurance, and the establishment of insurance exchanges through which individuals and families can receive federal subsidies to help them purchase insurance. As is the case with many laws that Congress passes, ACA contains many instances of delegation of rulemaking authority to federal agencies.

One way in which Congress can identify upcoming rules and regulations that will be issued pursuant to ACA is by reviewing the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (hereafter, Unified Agenda), which is published by the Regulatory Information Service Center (RISC), a component of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), for the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). The Unified Agenda lists upcoming activities, by agency, in three separate categories:


  • “active” actions, including rules in the prerule stage (e.g., advance notices of proposed rulemaking that are expected to be issued in the next 12 months); proposed rule stage (i.e., notices of proposed rulemaking that are expected to be issued in the next 12 months, or for which the closing date of the comment period is the next step); and final rule stage (i.e., final rules or other final actions that are expected to be issued in the next 12 months); 
  • “completed” actions (i.e., final rules or rules that have been withdrawn since the last edition of the Unified Agenda); and 
  • “long-term” actions (i.e., items under development that agencies do not expect to take action on in the next 12 months). 

All entries in the Unified Agenda have uniform data elements, including the department and agency issuing the rule, the title of the rule, the Regulation Identifier Number (RIN), an abstract describing the nature of the action being taken, and a timetable showing the dates of past actions and a projected date for the next regulatory action. Each entry also indicates the priority of the regulation (e.g., whether it is considered “economically significant” under Executive Order 12866, or whether it is considered a “major” rule under the Congressional Review Act).

The most recent edition of the Unified Agenda, which was published on December 21, 2012, is the fourth edition of the Unified Agenda since enactment of ACA. In this edition, agencies reported 23 proposed rules and 18 final rules that they expect to issue pursuant to ACA within the next 12 months. Agencies also reported a total of 22 long-term regulatory actions and 20 completed actions.

The Appendix of this report lists the upcoming proposed and final rules published in the 2012 Unified Agenda in a table.



Date of Report: February 1, 2013
Number of Pages: 29
Order Number: R42946
Price: $29.95

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R42946.pdf  to use the SECURE SHOPPING CART


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