Chevron Doctrine Overturned – The Impact on Healthcare

Last week in a landmark court decision, the Supreme Court overturned the Chevron Doctrine sending legal shock waves across the country.  The Chevron Deference (administrative law) came from a 1984 fisherman case that gave unprecedented legal power to federal agencies to interpret laws and decide the best ways to implement and enforce them.  Chevron Deference allowed federal judges to give judicial deference to reasonable interpretations of related statutes.  The Chevron doctrine aimed to recognize agency expertise in specialized areas, granting federal agencies unique authority at interpreting the laws enacted by Congress.

What does this mean for healthcare?  We expect to see a flood of new lawsuits challenging the legal precedents established by healthcare federal agencies under the oversight of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.  The most well-known federal agency in healthcare being the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which has developed a massive library of ambiguous rules, regulations, advisory opinions, and guidance that far exceed the limits of the statutory language enacted by Congress.  In the 40 years since the Chevron Doctrine became law, agencies like CMS have long had free reign to amend their programs, without the need to go through a congressional rule-making process.  With the overturn of Chevron, we anticipate many physicians, health care providers, and medical associations to challenge CMS regulations and other related healthcare determinations.

Read more about the Chevron doctrine and the impact on healthcare here: 

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