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‘Big Four’ Stand Together Against Changes to No-Fault Insurance at Monday News Conference

Legislation is moving through the Michigan House to place a cap on medical coverage for persons catastrophically injured in automobile accidents. Four of metro Detroit's top elected officials will speak against the changes Monday.

The Michigan House is considering limits on lifetime medical coverage to individuals catastrophically injured in automobile accidents. (Photo by Richard Haskin)
The Michigan House is considering limits on lifetime medical coverage to individuals catastrophically injured in automobile accidents. (Photo by Richard Haskin)

The Detroit metro’s “Big Four” – Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson,  Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and  Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano – will speak with one voice against proposed changes in Michigan’s no-fault automobile insurance law at a Monday  news conference.

The news conference will be held at 9 a.m. at Walk the Line to SCI Recovery, 23800 W. 10 Mile Road, Suite 193, Southfield.

They will voice opposition to changes proposed by Michigan House Republicans, who have resurrected reform efforts after failing to get enough support for the sweeping changes last year.

They want to scrap the current law, which offers unlimited lifetime medical benefits for people who are catastrophically injured in automobile crashes, and replace it with a system that sets the cap at $10 million. Insurers would also be required to guarantee a 10 percent savings for the first two years an automobile policy is in effect.

Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger, the Marshall Republican who is leading the effort, told the Detroit Free Press that Michigan’s automobile insurance is among the best in the country, but the rates residents pay are also among the highest in the nation.

“Families are struggling to pay their auto insurance bills,” he said. “We want to maintain the best, but make it affordable.”

Democrats defeated H.B. 4612 last spring, but its new form may have more bipartisan support.

“When you work through each of the items, we’ve addressed every single issue of opposition,” Bolger said.

At Monday’s news conference, the “Big Four” are expected to defend unlimited lifetime medical coverage for families and individuals who live with catastrophic injuries in automobile accidents. It’s a personal crusade of sorts for Patterson, who was critically injured in a 2012 accident that left his driver paralyzed from the neck down.

He and his driver were working at the time of the accident, so their medical bills are covered by worker’s compensation. But he told Michigan Radio last year that his injuries increased his awareness and made him more sympathetic to the plight of people catastrophically injured in automobile accidents.

In that interview, he said that without the law providing unlimited coverage, individuals such as his driver, who was left a quadriplegic in the accident, “would have been put into a medical warehouse, a nursing home, a rest home under Medicaid never to be seen again.”

DISCUSS: Do you support caps on medical coverage for people catastrophically injured in automobile accidents and other changes to the no-fault law? If so, what would you change and why?
Richard Cranium March 03, 2014 at 11:02 AM
Jacalyn, the only winners in ACA so far are the insurance companies. Why else did AARP now an insurance company help push it so hard?
Jacalyn Simon March 03, 2014 at 11:08 AM
The law is too new for me to give a well-thought-out opinion on it yet. I can't say I'd be surprised to end up with a conclusion like yours.
Richard Cranium March 03, 2014 at 01:51 PM
Follow the money and the lobbyists. I believe the data are sufficient to reach that conclusion.
Lee Jacobsen March 03, 2014 at 07:26 PM
The insurance companies may have a lot of power, but even they can't change simple basic mathematics. Healthcare coverage for close to 30 million people previously not covered , with no refusals, is going to cost a lot of money. In the past, companies like mine could plan or quote/cover in healthcare costs to a business model, not anymore. No one knows the true costs of healthcare, say for the year 2017. How can I pass those costs on via higher quotes to my customers if the costs are not known? I bid 2-4 years in advance on 'projects'. Since the costs of Obamacare are unknown, they can't be factored in. The default is to let employees go to the exchanges, and avoid the $2000 penalty by offering alternative insurance, which is very expensive, but less cost than Obamacare. The days of no co pays are over, most plans expect the employee to pay at least $6000 per year of deductibles, plus the increased premiums. Obamacare does limit the deductibles to around $6000, which is good. Overall though, the employees are getting screwed by Obamacare, this year my employees paid nothing for Blue Cross, next year, unless Obama changes the law again and adds another extension, each will pay thousands out of their pocket for healthcare, and I can't do anything about it beyond easing the pain with a $2000 rebate or so. The Auto insurance is just as convoluted. The govt runs the VA hospitals, and they are not exactly models of efficiency. My Dad went to the VA years ago, are they better now? The same govt will be running healthcare. Let's all stay healthy........
Richard Cranium March 03, 2014 at 07:50 PM
Great points Lee. You are right they can't change those mathematics. They did however write the equations and all the calculus went in their favor. A bill as big as ACA doesn't get that big when written by the bozos we elected. The bill gets that big with the help of organizations like ALEC, AARP, and a host of large contributors to ALL the campaigns. I wish I worked for you. I have been paying about $2400 per year for the $6000 deductible 80/20 plan for almost a decade. Next year, who knows. Then we play the 3-cycle of paper amount charged/allowed game. I almost never hit the deductible yet I'm out over 6 Grand. I have been lucky, we had a couple large items and I didn't have to mortgage the house to cover it. Obamacare is a tax. That's how it got passed the Supreme Court. Tax on medical devices. Tax on real-estate transactions... not mine too small. Increased cost for my sister's cancelled plan to replace it. But the drug and insurance companies will be the benefactor while we all pay more. Same with this auto debacle. Big deal 10% for 2 years. Michigan will still have the most expensive car insurance.

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