Week in Regulation

$3 Billion in Regulatory Costs

An Affordable Care Act (ACA) rule helped to create a busy week in regulation. Regulators published more than $3 billion in burdens, with annualized costs of $376 million, narrowly edging out $329 million in benefits for the week; paperwork grew by more than 3.1 million hours. The per capita regulatory burden for 2016 is $79.

Regulatory Toplines

  • New Proposed Rules: 47
  • New Final Rules: 56
  • 2016 Total Pages of Regulation: 7,694
  • 2016 Final Rules: $19.5 Billion
  • 2016 Proposed Rules: $6.1 Billion

The American Action Forum (AAF) has catalogued regulations according to their codification in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The CFR is organized into 50 titles, with each title corresponding to an industry or part of government. This snapshot will help to determine which sectors of the economy receive the highest number of regulatory actions.

The Department of Interior (DOI) proposed a rule to reduce the venting and flaring of natural gas on federal and Native American lands. The measure is designed to update 30-year-old rules on natural gas emissions. DOI estimates annual costs of $161 million, compared to $329 million in benefits, and negligible paperwork burdens.

Affordable Care Act

The administration published a final rule to correct the reporting and returning of Medicare overpayments. Ostensibly related to the ACA, the rule requires Medicare providers to return overpayments within 60 days once the problem is identified. The administration estimates the three million paperwork burden hours will result in roughly $161 million in annual costs. During the next ten years, total costs could easily top $1.3 billion.

Since passage, based on total lifetime costs of the regulations, the Affordable Care Act has imposed costs of $51.5 billion in state and private-sector burdens and 179.3 million annual paperwork hours (170.5 million from final rules).


Click here to view the total estimated revised costs from Dodd-Frank; since passage, the legislation has produced more than 76.6 million paperwork burden hours and imposed $39.3 billion in direct compliance costs.

A Note on Paperwork

The Office of Management and Budget approved 49 paperwork requirements, increasing the paperwork burden hour by 27.2 million hours. There were two major changes to existing paperwork requirements (defined as an hourly burden increase or decrease of 500,000 or greater).

The largest increase in paperwork burden hours imposed by an information collection requirement (ICR) was 26.6 million hours from Health and Human Services. The largest decrease in paperwork burden hours imposed by an ICR was 6,813 hours from the Department of State.

Total Burdens

Since January 1, the federal government has published $25.6 billion in compliance costs ($19.5 billion in final rules) and has imposed 8.6 million in net paperwork burden hours (6.9 million from final rules). Click below for the latest Reg Rodeo findings.