Calling the bill “destructive,” “a sell-out of Michigan citizens” and “a total gift to the insurance industry,” the Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault (CPAN) was among several groups that didn’t hold back opposition to the auto insurance bill approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
CPAN, the Michigan Brain Injury Provider Council (MBIPC), the Michigan Association of Justice (MAJ), Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) and the Insurance Alliance of Michigan (IAM) all criticized SB 0001.
About the only outside entity that shared in the Legislature’s enthusiasm was Detroit developer Dan Gilbert, whose promise of a citizens’ initiative absent legislative action helped push the issue for a pre-Memorial Day deal.
“Today is a monumental day in Michigan,” Gilbert wrote in a statement. “The unscrupulous actors have finally been defeated . . . Both Democrats and Republicans became wise to the predatory nature and strategies of those who rationalize their fleecing of the system with twisted arguments and fear tactics while using the complexity of the issue as a shield against real change. That dark era ends today.”
For CPAN President John Cornack, he said it would result in the loss of “current lifetime medical expense coverage because they are simply no longer able to pay the unconscionable and extortionistic premiums Michigan insurers have been allowed to charge for the last 10 years.”
Cornack urged Whitmer to “use the tools that are still in her legal toolbox,” which CPAN spelled out during a press event in late May.
MAJ President Debra Freid also cast the final product—agreed on by Republicans and many Democrats—as insurance company-friendly.
“Instead of protecting consumers, it assures increased profits for insurance companies at the expense of Michiganders,” Freid said in a press release. “It allows insurance companies to sell Michigan consumers junk policies that leave catastrophically injured auto accident victims without coverage. Insurance companies get off the hook and taxpayers end up footing the bill.”
Yet IAM Executive Director Tricia Kinley said the insurance companies have concerns whether “this proposal can live up to the savings the Legislature and governor are promising to drivers.”
Freid pledged the MAJ would “continue to fight this injustice on every level, including activating our membership to elect pro-reform candidates in the upcoming election.”
MHA CEO Brian Peters called the bill “deeply flawed” and that the hospitals are “concerned about the long-term impacts of reductions in medical coverage that helps accident victims recover, and the serious cuts to medical providers in every community in this state that care for all residents, not just auto accident victims.”
Tim Hoste, president of the MBIPC, said Michigan was the only one in the country “to give accident victims the ability to maintain the best possible quality of life, post-injury” and that the legislation that was approved would “decimate Michigan’s ability to remain the nation’s leader in the care and recovery of brain injury.”
The MBIPC predicted the legislation would “have a financial impact on all communities and result in the loss of thousands of jobs statewide. Meanwhile, higher costs will be placed on Medicaid, community mental health services, local assistance organizations, social services, law enforcement and more.”
Business Leaders for Michigan, however, came out in support of what was done, with President & CEO Doug Rothwell applauding Whitmer, House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) for “showing tremendous leadership in coming to agreement on reforming the state’s auto no-fault insurance law.”
This story courtesy of MIRS, a Lansing-based news and information service.