Detroit Caucus Says Senate Insurance Bills Are Bad for Detroit Drivers

Senate bills appear to be on House fast track
Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LANSING – State Representative and Detroit Caucus Chairman Brian Banks (D-Detroit) joined with the Detroit Caucus members today to say that they do not support the no-fault insurance changes that passed out of the Senate in Senate Bills 248-249 last week. The House Insurance Committee met today at 8:15 a.m. to discuss the bills. The committee’s regularly scheduled weekly meeting time is on Thursday, so it appears that the bills are on a fast track unless more time is allowed for hearings in House committee.

“Detroit residents deserve quality, first-class insurance policies that are equal to insurance policies available to residents of our surrounding suburban communities,” said Banks. “Our constituents deserve the same benefits as their suburban neighbors, and should not have to forgo these benefits simply because they live in the city.”

“Michigan citizens are required to buy auto insurance, yet these bills do not create a good product for Detroiters, or anyone else in Michigan for that matter, to purchase,” said state Representative LaTanya Garrett (D-Detroit). “This proposal offers fewer benefits and no real cost savings.”

Senate Bills 248 and 249 aim to contain costs by creating a fee schedule for medical care and caps reimbursement for attendant care when an injured person is living at home but needs assistance to do so. These bills also create a new version of the MCCA that would be subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Supporters argue that a fee schedule would eventually lower insurance rates. Opponents argue that limiting attendant care costs to $15 an hour may be too low for family members to care for their loved ones without facing bankruptcy. There is also the real possibility that level one trauma centers and emergency rooms could eventually feel the negative impacts from the changes to no-fault in these bills. Opponents also point out that there are no guaranteed cost savings for consumers built into the two bills.

“The Senate fails to address one on of the biggest barriers to affordable insurance for Detroiter’s by failing to prohibit auto insurance rates based on credit history, occupation, education or residency,” said state Rep. Alberta Tinsley-Talabi (D-Detroit), the sponsor of House Bill 4117, which would prohibit the use of these factors in establishing auto insurance rates. “We won’t get truly affordable insurance unless we ban these insurance company practices.”

“Detroiters will not be treated as second-class citizens, and that is what these Senate bills do,” said state Representative Wendell Byrd (D-Detroit). “Detroit citizens deserve better than this, and I’ll work with my colleagues to offer a plan that offers true savings and good benefits for our constituents.”

Banks said that he and the Detroit Caucus members look forward to sitting down with leaders to work on a true no-fault insurance reform package.

“My colleagues and I want to sit down with House Insurance Chairman Rep. Tom Leonard and stakeholders, including representatives from health care, insurance companies, the Committee to Protect Auto No-Fault (CPAN) and our constituents, to work on a plan that everyone can agree to,” said Banks. “The Detroit Caucus members and I cannot support these bills as written, and will not support proposals that harm the important services that attendants, trauma centers and emergency rooms provide for accident victims. However, we believe that if we all work together in a spirit of bipartisanship, we can create a plan that will work for Detroiters and all Michigan residents.”