House Dems: No-Fault Insurance Reform Leaves Drivers Vulnerable

Governor's plan to gut no-fault harmful to drivers in serious accidents
Thursday, April 18, 2013

LANSING — House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) and State Representative Kate Segal (D-Battle Creek), Democratic vice chairwoman of the House Insurance Committee, took a strong stand against Gov. Rick Snyder and the House Republicans’ proposal to undo protections granted to Michigan drivers under the state’s no-fault insurance system.

“This legislation would make it impossible for most Michigan families to afford the life-saving and rehabilitative care they would need after a catastrophic automobile accident,” Greimel said. “Without the protections in the current no-fault law, families will be left to handle the expenses for a lifetime of treatment for traumatic brain injuries and paralysis, the costs of which will far exceed the $1 million cap in benefits being proposed. That will force people into Medicaid where taxpayers will have to foot the bill for needed medical care.”

Under the governor’s proposal, sweeping changes would be made to auto insurance policies in Michigan, including capping personal protection insurance at a level that doesn’t come close to covering catastrophic injuries, pushing the cost of treatment back onto Michigan families.

Weakening no-fault auto insurance continues the Republican pattern of catering to big corporations at the expense of families and seniors. Last session, they gave a $2 billion corporate tax break that resulted in higher taxes for seniors and families and drastic cuts to school funding.

“Gov. Snyder and Republicans in the legislature are completely out of touch. They have no idea the impact this plan will have on Michigan drivers who are involved in these horrible accidents.” Segal said. “Once again, they have sided with big corporate interests over the citizens they were elected to serve. After hearing their proposal — which shifts more costs onto Michigan drivers — I have absolutely no faith that they are interested in protecting consumers or victims of auto accidents.”

The proposal released today also imposes a new fee in addition to the registration fees Michigan drivers already pay. Meanwhile, insurance companies that benefit from the change would be under no obligation to share their added wealth with drivers in the form of lower premiums after the first year.

Michigan voters repeatedly upheld the state’s no-fault system through voter referendums in 1992 and 1994. A similar plan to ditch no-fault auto insurance, staunchly opposed by legislative Democrats, failed in 2011 when not enough Republicans signed onto the plan.

“This idea was bad two years ago and it’s just as bad today,” Greimel said. “Elected leaders should never leave residents more vulnerable just so big insurance can make an extra buck. Gutting the no-fault auto insurance system is bad for Michigan, and House Democrats will fight it every step of the way.”