Taking its lead from President Reagan's executive order that called for reducing the burden of regulations, the Health Care Financing Agency (HCFA), which administers rules governing Medicaid and Medicare, has put together a questionnaire that asks "the public's views on any regulation they believe needs to be reviewed," according to the May 11 Federal Register (page 26207).

The public in this case, according to the HCFA proposal, is "state Medicaid agencies, contractors, professional organizations and other interested parties." As of now, the sampling does not include individual patients unless they find out about the survey.

Respondents will be asked to name their most-hated rules, although the question is more elegantly phrased: "Which HCFA regulations should be considered as candidates for revision or deletion?"

Respondents won't, however, get away with just calling names. The questionnaire requires them to analyze whether the hated rule solves some "significant problem" and, if it does, "What alternative regulatory solutions could better achieve the desired objectives?"

They also will be asked to explain how costs may exceed benefits of those rules which are attacked as being too expensive.

As now planned, although the subject matter is weighty, the sample won't be.

The HCFA is only planning to send out 300 of its questionnaires, and as of now expects only 200 responses.