LANSING – State Representative Vanessa Guerra (D-Saginaw) said today she cannot support Senate Bills 248 and 249 because they erode medical care for certain victims by limiting their ability to pay for their care, they do not guarantee rate reductions, and create more bureaucracy and continue secrecy while prohibiting voters from expressing their opinions of the so-called “reforms” at the ballot box. A recent poll conducted by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association found that a wide majority of respondents do not support these changes to no-fault.
“The Senate bills support insurance companies with massive handouts, but these come at the expense of motorists and patients,” Guerra said. “There is no reason for these companies to get any help while the people who need help with serious injuries suffer.”
Senate Bills 248 and 249 include provisions to reduce insurance premiums by $100 per year per vehicle but only for two years. This provision does not address the current excessively high rates paid by urban drivers, particularly in Detroit, who pay some of the highest premiums in the state.
The bills also limit attendant care for seriously injured people to $15 per hour, potentially forcing families trying to provide care for a family member into bankruptcy. Rep. Brian Banks (D-Harper Woods) won an amendment to the bill in committee stating that the $15 limit does not apply if the family member providing care is a licensed medical professional.
“People who have been seriously hurt in car accidents should be able to focus on their recovery around their loved ones, not feel the added weight and stress of figuring out how to pay for that care,” Guerra said. “My colleagues and I believe it is irresponsible to even consider legislation that victimizes those who have already been injured in sometimes traumatizing accidents.”
While creating a new Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) that will be transparent and subject to the Open Meetings Act, this plan allows the current MCCA to continue operating in secrecy while it pays out claims now in its system. The plan contains a $150,000 appropriation which makes the bills referendum-proof because voters cannot vote on appropriations. Voters have rejected changes to no-fault at the ballot box twice before.