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U.S. GAO Publishes Report on Effectiveness of State Regulation of the Death Care Industry

      
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U.S. GAO Publishes Report on Effectiveness of State Regulation of the Death Care Industry
Late yesterday, the ICCFA was alerted by staff at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, that its long-awaited report on state regulation of the death care industry had just been published. The report updates the GAO 2003 report on the effectiveness of state regulation. The conclusions of the new report are similar, that is, "the way in which states regulate the industry varies across industry segments and states. Also, the extent to which state regulators reported that they had specific rules or regulations for each industry segment in both 2003 and 2011 varied." It is significant that the GAO stated, "GAO is not making any recommendations in this report."

Among the highlights in the report:

  • The FTC reported an overall compliance rate with the Funeral Rule at about 85 percent.
  • State regulators reported having specific regulations for funeral homes at 95 percent; 88 percent for cemeteries, up from 77 percent in 2003.
  • A majority of state regulators felt there is no need for additional federal regulations. For example, 12 state regulators felt more federal regulation of funeral homes is needed, compared to 15 who disagreed and 13 who had no opinion. Regarding cemeteries, 12 also felt more federal regulation is needed, but 25 disagreed and 5 had no opinion.
  • With one exception, a majority of state regulators also felt there is no need for additional state regulation. The exception is in the area of preneed plans: 20 felt more regulation is needed, 9 disagreed and 11 had no opinion.

The complete text of the 100+ page report can be viewed on the ICCFA website at www.iccfa.com/files/GAOReport_011812.pdf.