What to Watch For This Election Year

An election year typically brings a front loaded schedule for the Michigan legislature as elected officials hurriedly work through more contentious issues early in the year to avoid tackling such issues closer to the election. 2016 is likely to be no different. Issues that may see action in the early part of the year include telehealth, biosimilar drugs, auto no-fault insurance, the health insurance claims assessment tax, concealed pistol carry in schools, medical marijuana and childhood immunizations.

Perhaps the most imminent challenge facing the legislature is finalizing the fiscal year 2016-17 budget. While the Snyder Administration has consistently met deadlines for completing the budget process, with variables such as unanticipated tax liabilities from the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) tax credits, and looming tax repeals and sunsets, there is much work to be done. This Thursday's January Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference will shed some light on the status of the state's economy as state officials set revenue projections for the coming fiscal year.

As we look to the November general election, in addition to electing a new President and Vice President, American's will also elect 469 new Members of Congress, and 86 of the 99 state legislative chambers will hold elections, including the Michigan House of Representatives. The ballot will look a little different in Michigan this year, with the elimination of the option to vote a straight-party ticket per legislation signed into law by Governor Snyder on January 5. There could be additional changes to Michigan's election process, as the Governor has asked the legislature to "enact secured no-reason absentee voting" to "alleviate concerns that this change could lead to longer wait times for voters," which Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says is imperative.

With a litany of issues potentially on the table for debate prior to the November elections, the coming months promise a flurry of activity downtown. Regardless, MAFP members can be assured the Academy will work diligently to advocate for our 2016 policy priorities. Additionally, the Academy continues to explore its role in addressing third party payer issues and becoming a recognized and respected voice in payment and delivery system reform.