https://theincidentaleconomist.com/word ... ion-rules/On Friday afternoon, a district court in Pennsylvania enjoined the Trump administration’s new rules on contraception coverage from taking effect. The court’s ruling was not unexpected: I’d argued earlier that the rules were vulnerable on both procedural and substantive grounds, and the court’s analysis largely tracks my own.
Procedurally, the Trump administration had no good explanation for why it skipped notice and comment:
There was no deadline, much less an urgent one, to implement new rules. The [rules] did not resolve any uncertainty and … have not prevented ongoing litigation. And the blizzard of prior comments that [HHS has] received in past rounds of notice and comment rulemaking actually demonstrates that further comments are necessary given the public interest in this matter.
The sloppiness here is striking. HHS could have run through the notice-and-comment period on an expedited timeframe. Doing so would have delayed the rules by a few months, but probably no more than that. Instead, the Trump administration practically begged the courts to step in.
Barring a successful appeal, the Trump administration will now have to start all over. And appealing is risky. HHS apparently thinks that time is of the essence here. Yet, if the agency appeals and loses, it will have wasted another year before even starting notice and comment. At best, HHS might issue final rules sometime in the middle of 2019. At worst, the timeline could slip to 2020.
Those of you who like this ruling shouldn't get too excited-- nobody's clarified whether or not this applies nationally or just in Pennsylvania.