New regs for Wednesday: Feds admit cost of ObamaCare fix

New regulations for ObamaCare, veterans and a range of other issues will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday.

Here’s a peek into what the executive branch will issue before the Thanksgiving break:

ObamaCare:

The Department of Health and Human Services is publishing a 255-page proposal with payment parameters and oversight provisions for the federal healthcare exchange created by the reform law. 

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Within those pages, however, is an acknowledgment that the administration’s decision to allow people to keep their insurance plans that would have otherwise been canceled will lead to fewer healthy people signing up on the healthcare marketplace. 

People who keep those “transitional” plans, the agency said, “may have lower health risk, on average, than enrollees in individual and small group plans subject to the 2014 market rules.”

But because insurance companies set their premiums assuming those people would enroll through the exchange, “an increase in expected claims costs could lead to unexpected losses.”

Veterans:

The Department of Veterans Affairs is finalizing changes to increase the amount of a veteran's spouse's money that is not taken into account when calculating co-payments for the veteran's long-term care. 

The limit, known as the “spousal resource protection,” was formerly $89,280, but is being shifted to $115,920, and will keep pace with the comparable limit for Medicaid recipients.

Additionally, the agency is also proposing to rewrite its pension and compensation regulations “in a logical, claimant-focused, and user-friendly format,” it said. 

Environment:

The Environmental Protection Agency s extending the time for the public to comment on proposed changes to federal water quality rules. 

Trains:

The Federal Railroad Administration is issuing interim rules for railroads that have not yet been approved to use automatic control systems.

Before using the systems, those railroads will need to adopt two different safety plans. 

Mortgage:

The Internal Revenue Service is finalizing rules to require that people who earn $600 or more from mortgage insurance premiums to report that income to federal tax collectors. 

Postal Service:

The Postal Regulatory Commission is considering eliminating a requirement that the Postal Service prepares certain reports for its annual compliance review. 

Communications:

The Federal Communications Commission is setting new price cap rules for its program to bring broadband Internet to all corners of the country and proposing “minor rule changes” to update a set of recommended practices for television companies. 

Pesticides:

The EPA is setting a tolerance for residues of the pesticides etofenprox on different fruits, and metaldehyde on a number of berries and vegetables. 

The agency is also declaring that it does not need to set limits for another pesticide when used as an “inert ingredient,” and it has received a revised request to set new pesticide chemical regulations.