A “ticking time bomb” that threatened to invalidate thousands of existing health regulations, including protections for older adults, may be winding down.

The Department of Health and Human Services has sent a revised version of a Trump-era proposed rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review, according to Inside Health Policy. The new rule is expected to repeal the Securing Updated and Necessary Statutory Evaluations Timely (SUNSET) rule, proposed the day after the November election and finalized the day before Biden’s inauguration.

The SUNSET rule would have required HHS to review all 18,000 existing agency regulations beor an automatic expiration date — something the agency said would require redirecting resources away from the pandemic.

Industry and consumer advocacy groups called the SUNSET rule a “ticking time bomb” that would create “incalculable costs and chaos” in a lawsuit filed in March. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, sought to vacate the “unlawful SUNSET rule and prevent the substantial harm” it would cause healthcare providers, business and nonprofit organizations, individuals and public health. 

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, HHS filed a stay on the SUNSET rule.

According to Inside Health Policy, HHS and the plaintiffs in the case filed a joint status report, indicating that the agency was preparing to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to repeal SUNSET. They also requested the court continue to stay the case until Nov. 1.