March 31,2011

Press Contact:

Julia Lawless, Antonia Ferrier, 202.224.4515

Hatch Comments on ACO Regulations

WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Health and Human Services released its long- awaited Accountable Care Organization (ACO) rule which will dictate the new delivery and payment model for hospitals and physicians under the new $2.6 trillion health law.  In response, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, issued the following statement:

“The Administration has issued a 429 page regulation on Accountable Care Organizations, which will fundamentally restructure the delivery of health care in our nation,” said Hatch.  “It is imperative that sufficient time be given to study and understand the ramifications of these unprecedented, massive regulations. Any attempt to short-circuit this process would be detrimental to our nation’s doctors and seniors who must know exactly how these hundreds of pages in rulings will impact their delivery and access to high-quality care."

Since the enactment of the health law in March 2010, concerns have consistently been raised regarding the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) implementation process for new regulations involving federal health care programs, including its attempts to bypass the traditional regulatory process.

Several reports have indicated a dysfunctional clearance process with respect to regulations issued under the Obama Administration and have suggested HHS has limited the public’s right to comment on regulations by not allowing the public a full 60 day comment period beginning with the date of publication in the Federal Register.  Exercising his oversight role on the Committee, Senator Hatch has fought to ensure transparency and accountability in the regulatory process, calling on Secretary Sebelius and Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Cass Sunstein to provide additional information and explain their current procedure for reviewing new federal regulations.