White House claims $13B in savings from streamlined regs

President Obama’s 2011 directive requiring agencies to clear their books of duplicative and overly burdensome rules has generated more than $13 billion worth of expected savings in the coming years, says the administration’s regulatory chief. 

Howard Shelanski, administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, said a new plan to scrap outdated Medicare requirements is the latest accomplishment in support of Obama’s “regulatory lookback.”

A final rule issued Wednesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) relaxes physician supervision and scheduling requirements and scraps data submission regulations for transplant centers that were seen as redundant.

In a post on an Office of Management and Budget blog, Shelanski said the CMS action reforms regulations “that the agency found to be unnecessary, obsolete, or excessively burdensome on hospitals and other healthcare providers.”

“This final rule streamlines health and safety standards that health care providers must meet in order to participate in Medicare and Medicaid,” wrote Shelanski.

The CMS rule change alone is expected to save roughly $3.2 billion over five years.

The White House had previously placed the regulatory lookback’s savings at over $10 billion, citing hundreds of areas where rules could be consolidated or altogether repealed.

The administration has repeatedly pointed to a Department of Transportation rule proposed last year to ease the paperwork burden on big rig drivers by eliminating requirements that they file reports following truck inspections when no problems were found.

The eased requirements were estimated to save $1.7 billion annually.

“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,” Shelanski wrote.