Three County Execs Say “No” to Changes in Auto No-Fault Law

Southeast Michigan’s three county executives sent a unified message to Lansing lawmakers today that they are opposed to proposed changes in Michigan’s auto no-fault law.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson stood shoulder to shoulder to defend families and individuals who live with catastrophic injuries during a morning news conference at Walk The Line to SCI Recovery in Southfield. House Speaker Jase Bolger recently introduced a substitute for House Bill 4612 that favors big insurance companies over families and individuals.

“Together, we are sending a powerful message to Lansing to urge our legislators to stand against big insurance companies overturning the will of the people,” Patterson said. “Speaker Bolger calls the new bill a ‘compromise.’ I call it a death sentence for individuals recovering from catastrophic injuries.”

Ficano agreed.

“By upholding the current no-fault law, we are taking a stand for the quality of life of our citizens involved in catastrophic automotive accidents,” Ficano said. “While the proposed changes to House Bill 4612 tout that they would save Michigan drivers money on their insurance policies, it comes at the expense of catastrophic accident victims receiving the long-term care they so desperately need. We can’t just stand by and allow this to happen.”

Bolger’s substitute bill would have a draconian impact on the quality of life for families and individuals living with catastrophic injuries from a car crash. His proposal would allow big insurance companies to:

  • Cap long-term care for individuals living with auto-related catastrophic injuries
  • Limit home care by family members even though family members are proven to provide better care than hired strangers
  • Opt out of providing palliative, life-long care designed to give a reasonable quality of life
  • Limit total home care hours to a maximum of 24 hours per day, which will not allow those who are catastrophically injured to have more than one aide per shift, even when deemed necessary by a licensed physician
  • Set a 52-week lifetime limit on physical therapy and only provide for additional increases in that limit if medical evidence can prove in advance that the person will make progress
  • Eliminate coverage for anyone riding in the car that is not a Michigan resident (in other words, visiting relatives and friends).

Bolger claims the substitute bill will provide savings, but they are negligible in the long run. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners says the average auto insurance policy is $1,100. So, a 10 percent savings would amount to about $10 per month. The substitute bill also includes a $25 annual Medicaid tax on every auto insurance policy to cover the shortfall in Health Insurance Claims Assessment (HICA). With the tax factored in, savings drop to $7 per month. Plus, there is no cost relief for Detroit drivers who pay the highest premiums in the nation.

Finally, the substitute bill again ignores that there is zero data from the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association to back up the proposal.

“The lack of transparency by the MCCA is astounding,” Patterson said. “Until we see the books and actuarial tables, we cannot have a serious discussion on how to improve auto no-fault in Michigan.”

Also in attendance at the news conference were:

Michael Dabbs and Tom Constand of the Brain Injury Association of Michigan; Chris Mitchell, Michigan Health & Hospital Association; Natalie Lombardo and Brandon Hewitt of Michigan Auto Law, a Southfield law firm that has been advocating for its clients against these proposed changes in Michigan no-fault; representative(s) from the Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault; Erica and Ira Coulston, co-owners of Walk The Line to SCI Recovery who also live with Erica’s catastrophic injuries from an auto accident; and Fred Nader, prominent businessman and Erica’s father fighting changes in Michigan’s no-fault law.

About Sarah Hovis

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