Healthcare regulations refer to any number of laws and statutes on the federal, state, or local level that are generally used to protect the health and safety of citizens. Nearly every aspect of healthcare in the United States today is overseen by at least one regulatory body. At its most basic level, regulations are rules used to govern various aspects of the health care system.
Most agree that because healthcare involves some of the most basic rights of the individual, health and life, some oversight in needed through regulation. Yet the variety of healthcare regulation in the US today is complex and varied, and is not uniform or consistent in application. The overlap of governmental levels of regulation frequently mean that such agencies operate without coordination.
On the federal level, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the major regulatory body designed to protect the population from health risks as well as providing programs for public health. As a result, a major healthcare regulation such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) falls under the purveyance of the HHS.
Critics charge that healthcare regulations place a sizeable burden on the US economy, with many maintaining that regulation costs as much as one trillion dollars, in the form of regulation of facilities, health insurance, and medical tort systems such as malpractice insurance.