Train Wrecks -More Regulations to Come

Categories: NAEDA Column, NAEDA & Association News | Author: Amy Volk | Posted: 6/4/2013 | Views: 2662
By Mike Williams

NAEDA is your watchdog for laws and rules that can impact your industry.

I believe most Americans know very little about the regulatory process at the federal level of government or even at their own state and local levels. Many times these regulations, rulings, decisions, etc. can be real train wrecks if allowed to stand or be implemented.

In a May 1, 2013 article published in Human Events, John Stossel had this to say about the details of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, so called Obamacare. I thought this is worthy of a read as the law goes into effect next year and the ensuing regulations that will be learned the hard way. Here is his take on the law: 
“Many people lazily assume that the law will do roughly what it promises: give insurance to the uninsured and lower the cost of health care by limiting spending on dubious procedures.
“Don’t count on it.
“Consider just the complexity: The act itself is more than 906 pages long, and again and again in those 906 pages are the words, ‘the Secretary shall promulgate regulations …’ 
“‘Secretary’ refers to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. Her minions have been busy. They’ve already added 20,000 pages of rules. They form a stack 7 feet
high, and more are to come.
“Our old health care system was already a bureaucratic and regulatory nightmare. It
had 16,000 different codes for different ailments. Under our new, ‘improved’ system, there will be more than a 100,000.
“Government likes to think regulations can account for every possibility. Injured at a chicken coop? The code for that will be Y9272. Fall at an art gallery? That means you are a Y92250. There are three different codes for walking into a lamppost—depending on how often you’ve walked into lampposts. This is supposed to give government a more precise way to reimburse doctors for treating people and alert us to surges in injuries that might inspire further regulation.
“On Government-Planned World, this makes sense. But it will be no more successful than Soviet central planning.” 
I think Mr. Stossel summed that up pretty well, don’t you? But, that is only one set of regulations. If you have not had the chance to review a copy of the Federal Register that is published almost every workday, you should. You will see a continuous spiel of proposed, amended and/or new regulations coming out of the federal government. That stack of 7-feet-high regulations for Obamacare won’t hold a candle compared to the total height of all the published Federal Registers over the course of a year.

NAEDA Keeps Track for You
You are probably asking, “How do you know?” Well, one part of the work NAEDA does in government relations for our members is to read through each and every one of those Federal Registers looking for issues, problems and opportunities in the regulations that could negatively or positively impact your dealership and employees. We make comments to the federal agency when requested and/or offer suggestions to make the regulations better. 

Lastly, other train wrecks in regulations sometimes come from court decisions. Whether they are from state or federal circuit courts, appellate courts or even Supreme Courts, they rule on laws and regulations every day that can make changes in how businesses must react and/or comply.

A great example of a court implication is when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled on Jan. 25, 2013, that the three members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB ) were unlawfully recess-appointed in January 2012 by the president. Based on that court ruling, the NLRB had lacked a quorum since August 2011 and all their hundreds of decisions since that time could be invalid.

When I titled this article with the word “train wrecks,” I was being somewhat facetious. But, as we look at the work of the last Congress and the new 113th Congress, there are a number of items that will come with new regulations because of laws passed then or that are being considered now for passage. One document that was recently released by the House Ways and Means Tax Reform Working Groups for the full committee consideration included 560-plus pages of recommendations for tax reform alone. Think what the regulations would be if those tax changes were all signed into law! Other examples include: the farm bill, immigration reform, trucking regulations, water infrastructure funding, streamlined sales taxes and all the agency appropriations. More train wrecks? We can certainly hope not.

MIKE WILLIAMS is vice president of government relations for NAEDA.

He can be contacted at williamsm@naeda.com


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