One of the many people who are working to ensure that Republicans do not hand a gift to insurance companies by “reforming” our state’s auto insurance laws wrote to Governor Rick Snyder. They asked him to veto any changes to our current law that would remove the requirement for lifetime benefits in the event of catastrophic injuries sustained in a car accident. As I wrote last week, this so-called “reform” is nothing more than a gift to auto insurance companies that not only will not save Michigan consumers money but will, in fact, increase our costs.
Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance is the GOP’s current target for reform. In what can only be described as a gift to auto insurance companies, they are looking to remove the requirement for unlimited lifetime coverage for victims of auto accidents. The claim is that this will save Michigan insurance purchasers (i.e., auto owners) so much money that our pockets will be filled and the world will be set right once again.
Problem is, it’s a bunch of lies. The fact is that, outside of Metro Detroit, the average cost to Michiganders for auto insurance is similar to the national average of $1,000 per year or less for a single vehicle. However, if a person is involved in a catastrophic car accident requiring lifetime care, the proposed lifetime cap will shift the costs to our social welfare system, ensuring that all of us pay more in the end. In fact, according to a recent study, Michigan Medicaid costs could rise by $30 million in the first year if this cap goes through.
The response this person got back is such a non-committal one that it deserves to be public:
Nowhere in the response does Gardner indicate how the Governor feels on the issue and whether or not he will sign the legislation if it is passed by our legislature. The bit that I highlighted is particularly galling because, as I wrote in my previous piece, there will be no referendum. The Republican authors of this legislation have seen to that.
The House bill, HB 4936 sponsored by Rep. Peter Lund, also has a little suprise tucked into it in the form of a $50,000 appropriation for a “study” on the effect of the new law. Why did he put this in there? Because appropriations bills are not eligible for citizens’ referendums where they are put on the ballot for Michigan citizens to vote on. Citizens’ referendums on our no-fault insurance rules happened in 1992 and 1994 when voters smacked the “reforms” down. Lund, Hune and their Republican friends in the Legislature don’t want any chance of that happening again.
If you’d like to learn more about this new legislation, I commend your attention to the website of the Coalition to Protect Auto No-Fault (CPAN). There you can keep up to date on the bill, learn the facts about this GOP gift to insurance companies and find out how you can take action. There are links there for contacting your state legislator. PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR AND TELL THEM TO VOTE NO! ON THIS BILL.