Cornyn bill would force HHS to field public comments on new regs

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is urging legislation requiring the Obama administration to field public comments on all regulations related to the new healthcare reform law.

The bill came a few days before a new report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) found that, of the 12 reform-related final rules issued this year by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department, 10 came in the form of "interim final rules," which don't include a public comment period.

Of the remaining two final rules, HHS sought public input on only one, CRS found.

The legislation is being applauded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an adamant opponent of the healthcare reform law, which issued a statement Thursday saying it's "improper" for HHS to install such sweeping changes without allowing the public to weigh in.

“These health reform regulations implement tremendous change before comments from stakeholders are carefully evaluated,” said Randy Johnson, the Chamber's senior vice president for Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits. 

“Given the dramatic impact of these new rules, it is improper for the departments to adopt a process that fails to ensure that public comment will be considered. Sen. Cornyn’s bill would require that regulators instead follow a procedure that is far more likely to lead to the thoughtful promulgation of reasonable regulations.”

This post was updated at 2:07 p.m.