Horizon’s Health Policy Outlook: Predictions for the Key Legislative, Regulatory and Political Developments in 2016

Those anticipating a quiet year in health policy could be in for a surprise. While many analysts contend that election-year headwinds will prevent legislative progress on a broad range of issues, this year’s Horizon’s Health Policy Outlook offers a contrarian view. We believe the first half of 2016 could be the most productive legislative session since 1996, when several major laws were enacted just months before a presidential election.

Behind the harsh rhetoric of the primary season, lawmakers have quietly been working toward consensus on a range of key issues. At the same time, presidential election years typically feature a blizzard of bills designed to set the table for the next Administration and Congress.

In addition, we expect a steady stream of regulations throughout the year—a prospect summed up by the recent Politico headline, “Obama pushing thousands of new regulations in Year 8.” The last year of a presidency often is marked by aggressive rulemaking on controversial issues, as the exiting Administration attempts to accomplish through fiat what they were unable to realize through legislation. This year is no exception.