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Posted on Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 5:22 p.m.

Ann Arbor lawmaker says no-fault insurance reform will bankrupt accident victims in Michigan

By Ryan J. Stanton

State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, today denounced Republican-sponsored House Bill 4936, arguing it unfairly limits auto insurance benefits for accident victims in Michigan.

Irwin said the controversial no-fault legislation, introduced by state Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, would bankrupt accident victims and their families.

Allowing auto insurance companies to limit insurance benefits, Irwin argued, would force many of those suffering from prolonged auto injuries — like traumatic brain injury — to turn to other health care options such as Medicare and Medicaid, which he said greatly increases the burden on the taxpayers who pay into those programs.


Jeff Irwin

"No-fault insurance ensures that citizens get the care they need without wasting time and money fighting with the courts and lawyers," Irwin said in a statement. "The system is working well for consumers but the insurance companies would love to shift their liabilities to the taxpayers."

When Lund introduced the bill in September, he characterized it as a cost-saving reform to Michigan's no-fault insurance system that also increases consumer choice. The legislation was referred to the House Committee on Insurance.

Officially known as the Consumer Choice Insurance Act, Lund has argued since last month that the legislation would allow Michigan motorists to choose and purchase different amounts of coverage and eliminate the mandate to purchase unlimited lifetime medical benefits.

Under HB 4936, Lund said, motorists would be given the choice to purchase any one of a variety of plans to suit their needs, including up to $5 million in coverage.

"While families across our state have watched their jobs leave and incomes fall, their insurance premiums continue to rise," Lund said in a statement. "We are the only state in the nation where motorists are required by law to purchase unlimited medical insurance. I see no reason why government should be an accomplice in picking the pockets of Michigan drivers."

But there are no requirements in the legislation for insurance companies to reduce rates to reflect their reduced liabilities, Irwin argued today.

Also, Irwin said, consumers would be prevented from buying unlimited coverage as they do today, and instead would be forced to buy $500,000, $1 million or $5 million in lifetime coverage. Once that coverage is exhausted, Irwin said, victims and their families would be left to bankruptcy and eventually Medicare and Medicaid.

Irwin said victims would be forced to seek compensation through the courts.

"Thousands of jobs will be lost almost immediately," Irwin said. "Just in Washtenaw County, we have hundreds of good-paying jobs in rehabilitation and traumatic brain injury care."

Irwin said services such as intensive physical therapy and comprehensive home care no longer would be covered. Instead of aggressive rehabilitation, he said, victims would be pushed toward taxpayer-funded nursing home care.

In addition to limiting insurance benefits, Irwin pointed out the legislation includes a $50,000 appropriation to prevent a voter referendum on the bill.

"The $50,000 appropriation is solely intended to keep voters from overturning this ill-conceived law as they have twice before when attempts were made to limit no-fault insurance benefits," Irwin said. "Republican leaders know that no-fault insurance is popular and successful, which is why they want to take away the citizens' right to referendum."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.



Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 5:55 p.m.

the rich gets richer and i get poorer ,canada what do u think ummm


Mon, Oct 31, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

My daugher and family lived in both Arizona and now in Indiana - they have had full coverage on both their vehicles and still paid less then ours in Michigan which we only had PLPD on our two vehicles! Something has to change. People need their vehicles to get to work - and there are alot of people who only make minimum wage and need that vehicle to get to and from work. I'm tired of being nickle and dimed to death by my city and my state.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 9:12 p.m.

There is nothing in the legislation that guarantees that rates will be lower. Unlike Medicaid, the MCCA fund is more than solvent with asset reserves of 12.9 billion. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Right now, if your example of a minimum wage worker were in an accident they would be covered for all injuries related to that accident, 85% of lost wages, any home modifications needed, and rehabilitation to be able to return to work. Under this legislation, that same worker will only be covered for the maximum amount they purchased. The lowest amount of $500,000 won't last long in a catastrophic accident. Everything else they will be on the hook for. Likely they will have lost their job for being gone too long and will no longer have health insurance from their employer. Likely, they will not be able to return to work as they have no access to rehabilitation once the car insurance coverage ran out. Bankruptcy, permanent disability and living in a nursing home are not viable alternatives to what the system is now. Many people are able to have lives after injury that include returning to work and living independently. Legislation that takes that away while not including any guarantees of rate changes is not the change Michigan can afford.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 6:57 a.m.

It would be nice if could update and cover a story that will have a huge economic impact on Washtenaw County. Not only will it impact local jobs if it passes, but it will further erode the tax base if companies that provide care are forced to scale back facilities. If this does pass, I will likely no longer bother with car insurance. There is no point in having it if it won't do anything for me if an accident happens.

Jon Saalberg

Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 6:59 p.m.

If it involves protecting businesses, the GOP will do whatever it takes, fair or not. I guess they forgot that most Michigan voters are not business owners - please remember this next November when you vote. &quot;Protecting&quot; insurance companies from paying &quot;too much&quot;? This is the same GOP that &quot;knows&quot; four years is how long you are poor before you shouldn't be poor anymore. If nothing else, the GOP is proving, virtually every week, that their lack of humanity is boundless. Is this really what our multimillionaire governor expected when he was elected? I think even he is shocked at the lack of compassion emanating from Lansing.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 5:55 p.m.

I think they should scrap the mandated insurance coverage all together. Every man and woman for themselves. If mandatory health insurance is &quot;unconstitutional&quot; why is auto insurance?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 5:52 p.m.

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution states: &quot;The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States&quot; Seems to me that the healthcare act falls clearly under the power to provide for the general welfare. And, if that is not clear, Art. 1, Sectin 8 concludes that Congress has the power &quot;To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.&quot; Seems pretty clear to anyone with knowledge of that document. And then, just for the cherry on the icing, there is the Interstate Commerce clause. Good Night and Good Luck


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 7:06 p.m.

The federal government has no general power to enact legislation for the public welfare as the states do. There must be a specific grant of power in the U.S. Constitution - such as the Commerce Clause. States can demand universal auto insurance as a condition of granting a vehicle registration or operator's license. Just like notary publics are legally required to be bonded as a condition form their Secretary of State commission to be issued.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 6:34 p.m.

Those who think federally mandated health insurance is unconstitutional (I don't) cite its federal mandate. Auto insurance (as is health insurance in Massachsetts) is state-mandated. Nothing in the Federal Constitution can be read as prohibiting state governments from mandating insurance coverage. Good Night and Good Luck


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 3:35 p.m.

As a FF/EMT in rural Northern Michigan, I have seen firsthand the benefit of the current system when a local high school girl suffered a severe brain injury in a traffic accident last winter. Five plus weeks in ICU in Traverse City, additional time in the ICU in Grand Rapids, then time spent at Mary Free Bed for rehab. She is now in a long term nursing care facility but is frequently transported to Grand Rapids to deal with a host of medical issues. With the highest insurance premiums in the nation now, and people forced to carry &quot;no fault&quot; coverage which pays nothing, how is this change a benefit to me and my fellow citizens? A car runs a red light and strikes me, the driver of the vehicle gets ticketed but but his/her insurance company pays nothing. What the hell are these insurance companies paying for other than wages and bonuses for their executives? If we're forced to pay these outrageous rates, then I say leave the medical fund alone. Besides, I don't ever remember a Republican plan for insurance companies that benefited me. If they really want to help the citizens of this state, pass a law that says only a persons driving record and the vehicle they drive is used to calculate their auto insurance premiums, not their credit score. The current practice penalizes too many people who have lost their jobs but have a clean driving record...


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 12:23 a.m.

Good point. I have seen emergency care run to over $100,000 in the first few weeks in the caastrphic injury scenario.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 3:25 p.m.

HEY ANN ARBOR.COM....WHY IS THIS SUBJECT IMPORTANT SUBJECT THAT AFFECTS EVERYONE IN OUR STATE (vs. the pablum about old drug dealers, etc.) DROPPED FROM THE FRONT PAGE LESS THAN 24 HOURS AFTER POSTING AND WITH 50+ COMMENTS ALREADY????? During over twenty years in the insurance industry I have been on all sides of Michigan's current No-Fault Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, and my strong suggestion is it must be preserved, and moreover adopted as "best practice" throughout the country. The facts stated in this article about the currently proposed legislation to "create options" are correct, a few more things to know: -The premium change will be something on the order of $11 per month per policyholder. -This issue was soundly defeated in a statewide voter referendum in the early 90's. -A just released poll shows over 60% of consumers favor unlimited benefits. -One reason the fund is insolvent is that BILLIONS of surplus has been refunded to policyholders. -No fault medical coverage, if forfeited, will lead to more and larger civil suits resulting from auto accidents...which will drive UP the cost of insurance. -Michigan insurance companies are among the most profitable in the industry. The only reform warranted presently is to make PIP claims payable from the same cost guides that apply to Workers Compensation claims in Michigan. This will reduce fraud and waste in the system.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 2:46 p.m.

I really hope they leave this alone. We benefited from a head on collision and major injuries without having to dip into our medical coverage. Our medical coverage helped but this was an extension of it. Very nice to have. All I can say is this. Leave it alone.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 2:15 p.m.

I for one totally agree with Rep. Irwin's position. Furthermore, the selfishness of those who support this bill is mind boggling. Saying that one being a taxpayer is tired of his or her money going toward catastrophic care and pitting yourself as a taxpayers against those less fortunate borders on cruelty. I for one refuse to go that route.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 12:38 p.m.

People this is a piece of bad legislation authored and sponsored by the Insurance Industry in Michigan. Consumers have lots of choice you can always choose to go with a different auto insurance provider if your rates increase. I did and saved myself $400 a year. There is ABSOLUTELY no guarantee your rates will go down if this bill passes. This is just more bad legislation like the recent Workers Comp Legislation re-write authored by insurance carriers and proposed by Republicans. The current coverage and limit scheme works. A $5,000,000 cap on lifetime benefits is not enough. What if my 2 year old daughter is severely injured in an auto accident an requires lifetime care. There is no way $5,000,000 will be enough to cover the cost of her care for her lifetime given the cost of treatment and physical therapy. Remember also, under MI-No Fault Law you cannot sue another Michigan Driver to recover for your loss if they were at fault because we are a no-fault state. Your own insurance pays and under this legislation you are forced to accept whatever the lifetime cap is on the insurance. The ONLY WINNERS ARE THE INSURANCE COMPANIES!!!! If there is a cap then I should also have the right to sue the other party and not be subject to the no-fault cap. This is bad, bad and really bad legislation for injured auto accident victims, their families and taxpayers. Republicans know it which is why they are trying so hard to prevent the voters for preventing the passage of this legislation by including the $50,000 appropriation. Please call your representative and voice your opposition to this legislation written and sponsored by the insurance industry.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 12:35 p.m.

This bill does nothing to ensure that people that don't buy insurance now will buy it after the bill. That is a huge assumption. There are no guarantees that premiums will go down enough to entice illegal drivers to purchase insurance. What it will do is force taxpayers to pick up the tab for insurers, sometimes called &quot;socialism&quot; and normally opposed by members of the GOP, except when it is corporate socialism.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 11:15 a.m.

This is an insurance company bill, it has great benefit for insurance companies. A lot of people will buy the minimum and them if injured, become an additional burden to tax payer supported medical care. Why do we have mandatory insurance? Because there were so many accidents involving people with no insurance that individuals suffered not only grievous injury but financial ruin. In addition the bill is designed, by insurance companies, to limit the citizenry's ability to change the law. So if this doesn't work they want to make sure we, the people, can't change it. If this passes someone from the insurance industry lobby is going to get a sweet bonus, brilliant move on their part


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

They already benefit from us by high car insurance premiums. For them to benefit a windfall from us low life taxpayer is unheard of. Scary to think they can profit more from this bill then already do.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 8:32 a.m.

Tying insurance to credit rating is what Michigan's legislature should be voting on. Too many people have had their credit scores decimated and their insurance rates raised as a result of that qualifier, due to Michigan's record unemployment, foreclosures, etc. in the last few years. They literally can't afford to be insured. Unlink these conditions and see how many more people pay for lower-rate insurance. P.S. Not for a moment do I believe that people with traumatic head injuries will not receive treatment if auto insurance coverage changes. If people lose their jobs, well, other industries have too. Welcome to the new economy. Those remaining work harder and longer. It's a fact of life in this state and elsewhere across the nation.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 4:48 a.m.

&quot;Five million dollars is NOT enough to care for a traumatically-brain-injured (TBI) person for life.&quot; Sometimes it is, sometimes not. What if the victim is 80? Why don't legislators care about all the other things I'd rather buy with the premiums I have to pay for risk-sharing arrangements I don't care to purchase?


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 4:12 a.m.

All Jeff wants is bigger govt with more control over the people to give them less opportunities for themselves. I'd rather have choices than Jeff's only choice.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.

so here are your choices....right now you have anice steak from the Chop House. Your new choices will be a burger from Wendy's, Mcdonalds or Burger King. The cost is the same. Have a nice choice:)


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.

You have choices, you are free to select from a variety of auto insurance providers in the state. I appreciate Jeff's very candid statement of this bad legislation. If passed this legislation will not help you or reduce your rates. Insurance rates are unlikely to be affected by this legislation and will only increase profits to the insurance companies. You will be stuck paying your premiums that is the reality.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 10:06 a.m.

You clearly did not read the article as the legislation puts limits on the type policy one can purchase. But why should this be any different from any other time? Good Night and Good Luck


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 4:52 a.m.

You should have voted for his GOP opponent Chase Ingersoll. He is outspoken on health care legislation.

Ron Granger

Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 3:18 a.m.

Any legislator who introduces a bill with an anti voter referendum provision (or adds as an amendment) should be recalled. We're looking at you, rep Pete Lund of Shelby Township. You are a disgrace to the will of the people you represent.


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 12:21 a.m.

I know Pete Lund and congratulated him on his ascension to the House Insurance Committee chairmanship this January. He won his House seat by a large margin.

Tom Joad

Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 1:04 a.m.

As it is now, there are a great number of people driving without auto insurance because to them it is prohibitively expensive to acquire. Making insurance affordable to all should be the goal because it benefits all drivers and makes the roads safer. You drive at the behest of your insurance company based on your driving record. Careful, prudent and responsible drivers shouldn't have to pay through the teeth to subsidize an irresponsible driver.

say it plain

Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 1:33 a.m.

Do you think that the people who currently drive without *any* insurance will choose anything but the lowest-end coverage? Then, how much will that we expect that it would be &quot;affordable&quot;, when the companies aren't even required to do *anything* vis a vis rates? What if they were say half what a policy would cost now, and that still proves too much for half the currently-uninsured, so they stay off it. Can you imagine how much this would add potentially to medicare/medicaid costs, and how many people might have to spend away all their resources just to keep getting some small percentage of the care they'd have been getting without this change? Without a full cost/benefit analysis, that includes hits to the economy due to job loss as well as increased taxpayer costs for medicaid/medicare, I don't see how the GOP can find the gall to wrap this bill in a no-referendum package and jam it down the citizen's throats. I would love for our car insurance to be cheaper, but I'm guessing that I will be paying almost (if not exactly) the same for the highest-level-possible coverage as I am now, and almost none but the lowest-coverage option will reduce costs by anything appreciable...but we'll all suffer for it. All but the insurance companies.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 12:32 a.m.

This legislation is fundamentally flawed and unjust because it takes the costs of driving, including injuries and permanent disabilities associated with motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents, and spreads it against the entire population of taxpayers, not just motorists. Non drivers will now have to cover all costs associated with catastrophic injuries above the insurance limits. This is an absolute certainty. The pool of drivers, not all taxpayers, should cover these risks. To say that everyone has the option of purchasing more no fault insurance ignores the practical reality that most drivers will only pay the minimum amount; guaranteeing that sum total of costs of driving will not be carried by insurance companies, which is their principal charter, but will be carried in large part by everyone paying taxes. Also the dreaded lawyers will now pursue claims for the monetary difference between the actual cost of loss and injury and the limits of insurance coverage. Michigan will now have a bifurcated no fault system with additional lawsuits and tremendous medical uncertainties and financial disaster for many families. No group has been demanding these so called reforms. These regressions are bought and paid for by insurance companies because insurance rates for good coverage will soar and average coverage per driver and passenger will be dramatically reduced. It's an empirical fact. You know what's next, incremental coverage for workers compensation.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 3:57 p.m.

In my reply, I wrote &quot;If this bill were to pass, I wouldn't be surprised to see an insurance policy increase if a customer chose the $500,000 option.&quot; I left one zero out. This should be if I were to chose the $5,000,000 option.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 3:47 p.m.

&quot;To say that everyone has the option of purchasing more no fault insurance ignores the practical reality that most drivers will only pay the minimum amount&quot; Very well stated. The insurance companies want insurance agents to sell the price of the policy, not the coverage. With this in mind, the majority of the agents will not even tell you the options you have, just like they do right now with your options on bodily injury and property damage liability limits. They'll give you the lower price option to sell the policy (so much for working for you). If this bill were to pass, I wouldn't be surprised to see an insurance policy increase if a customer chose the $500,000 option. Look at your insurance policy. Where is the majority of the premium? It is on the physical damage portion of the policy (collision and other than collision coverage). Your premium on this coverage does not go down with the value of the car. Does this make sense? What is the pay out if your car is damaged? On average for a brand new car you may be looking at around $25,000. Look at the payout for a major medical situation and the premium for that coverage, and also your liability situations which could reach well into the multi-hundred thousand dollars, and the premium you are paying now. Looks to me like the cost per dollar is a better value here. Another writer posted that this is to protect the people in Detroit with high insurance premiums. Physical damage coverage is what is driving these premiums up. High rates of vehicle theft and vandalism, as well as the considerably higher traffic volume in Detroit, are the reasons for the higher premiums there. Do we want to fix the high premiums in Detroit, fix the premiums for decreasing values in vehicles. Don't charge the same amount, or more, for a car that is worth considerably less than the day I purchased it.

Basic Bob

Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 8:11 a.m.

I would have to agree except for the 20% of the drivers who are uninsured. Statistics show they are the highest risk drivers as well. Someone pays for their injuries when they quickly fall into bankruptcy.

Tony Menyhart

Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 11:37 p.m.

Governor Snyder should make it clear that he will veto any legislation that has the fake appropriations rider. Michigan has a good referendum system enshrined in the constitution. It is scary and evil that legislators want to take away the rights of citizens. Next they will go after the bottle law, another referendum passed law because it takes away the choice of the citizens to throw their empties out the window. I the Governor does not act to rein in the anti referendum legislation, he should be judged complicit in his actions. Only lobbyests gain from keeping the people out of decisions.

David Briegel

Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 11:33 p.m.

So, don't you get it?? The Populist TeaPublicons are just doing what their masters in the insurance industry instruct them. Can anyone honestly state that these hired hands of the 1% care the least little bit about the majority? You know, you and I?? And their curmudgeonly supporters try to portray the civilized Dems as the problem!! They are so delusional and morally bankrupt that they didn't even READ the article. Can they read???? HILARIOUS in its idiocy!!!!!!


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 11:21 p.m.

I see the hands of the trial lawyers.... remember they get half and are some of the biggest contributors to Democrats

David Briegel

Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 11:34 p.m.

Ghost, as usual, bragg doesn't have a talking point clue!!

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 11:30 p.m.

The current no fault law is supported by Dems and opposed by Reps. It essentially puts trial lawyers out of business where auto accidents are concerned.. The new law is supported by Reps and opposed by Dems. It will be a cash cow for trial lawyers. Geoffrey Fieger is licking his chops. So your point, as is frequently the case, is completely off base. Good Night and Good Luck


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 11:11 p.m.

And to think Jeff Irwin actually has a diploma.......

David Briegel

Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 11:35 p.m.

And to think, you didn't even read the article! As usual!!! Hey Doc, can you hear??


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 11:02 p.m.

I have corresponded with both Senate Insurance Committee chair Joe Hune and House insurance Committee chair Pete Lund about this bill. One of the concerns was that it is estimated that 50% of all City of Detroit residents have no auto insurance and limiting personal injury protection coverage would allow more inner city residents to purchase insurance. In fact, some Democratic state representatives from Detroit have supported this bill. There was also a problem with health care provider abuses. One traumatic brain injury facility in Farmington Hills made national news by having a $4 million civil insurance fraud judgment entered against it as a result of investigation and litigation instituted by the no-fault carrier Allstate Insurance Company. The insurance companies have cited this case as a prime example why changes need to be made in the no-fault system; indeed, it hurts legitimate accident victims who see their honest treatment programs scrutinized for fraud and unnecessary procedures. One chiropractor from Dearborn was jailed for insurance fraud and is now back in business generating no-fault claims after being released from prison. Scam artists saw the MCCA as a Horn-of-Plenty with little oversight, unlike the Medicaid system which has instituted vigorous criminal prosecutions in Michigan by virtue of an elite investigative unit in the Department of Attorney General and a &quot;Qui Tam&quot; law which encourages private enforcement of Medicaid fraud in state court; I was one of the first to bring a &quot;Qui Tam&quot; case under the new state Medicaid fraud statute . No such private enforcement exists as to no-fault insurance fraud in this state - which it should. It is understandable why the insurance industry has sympathetic supporters in the Michigan Legislature - which ruins it for the truly seriously injured and their families.


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 10:49 p.m.

If your auto medical coverage is &quot;secondary&quot; or &quot;coordinated&quot;, then your benefits are ruled by your promary policy. You can already have lower premiums by making this selection. Mr. Irwin is smart and he's taking the right position.


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 11:21 p.m.

Wrong!!! The federal ERISA legislation has been held by the courts to pre-empt the Michigan Insurance Code that provides for such coordination so that employer-provided health insurance is virtually always secondary to your no-fault policy coverage.


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 10:36 p.m.

This bill would make a bad law. It would cost us all more in one way or another. It would increase the number of lawsuits after motor vehicle accidents and increase the cost of Medicaid. This law would be a victory for trial lawyers and auto insurance companies. Please look into it for yourself.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 12:37 a.m.

Trial lawyers vehemently oppose this bill because there is no longer unliited coverage to litigate cases in the court system forever. Very often the no-fault court cases involve the litigation of reasonableness of treatment plans and billing amounts by the carriers and plaintiff's attorneys. With a $50,000 cap those cases would largely end to the extent that the publis gobbles up those minimum coverage personal injury protection policies.


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 10:35 p.m.

So let's see. The bill will supposedly increase consumer choice and reduce costs, but they took away the BEST choice and made no provision that guarantees reduced pricing. Meanwhile, people will once again be losing benefits that they rely on to literally stay alive, and the tax payers will be shafted in the process. Care providers will lose jobs because people can no longer afford care, and the quality of care will be reduced. The only thing this bill is guaranteed to do is reduce insurance companies liabilities. Oh, and that little appropriation to prevent a voter referendum? Nice touch. Stay classy, GOP.

David Briegel

Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 11:38 p.m.

That's just because those noble TeaPublicon's really care about the citizens! And if you believe that one I can tell you something even more funny!!


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 10:50 p.m.

That's it in a nutshell. Nicely put!


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 10:18 p.m.

&quot;Thousands of jobs will be lost almost immediately,&quot; Irwin said. &quot;Just in Washtenaw County, we have hundreds of good-paying jobs in rehabilitation and traumatic brain injury care.&quot; I happen to be one of those people who will likely lose her job if this bill passes, along with many of my co-workers. If this bill passes, there's no guarantee that your rates will be lowered; if they ARE lowered, it will likely be only a temporary reduction -- maybe for a year or two. Five million dollars is NOT enough to care for a traumatically-brain-injured (TBI) person for life. Current costs (housing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, medications, etc.) can reach $25,000/month - maybe more, depending on the severity of the brain injury. Many of our brain-injured clients are mere children. At $25,000/month, you can expect a five-million-dollar cap to last 16.6 years. Quite simply, that may not be enough. If you've ever seen a person with a TBI, you'd understand what I'm talking about. If Average Joe purchases the least possible coverage and, heaven forbid, ends up with a TBI, you and I will end up paying for it via Medicare/Medicaid, but only after Average Joe spends every possible dollar of his own, including losing his car and his house. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Leave the No-Fault law alone!!


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 10:31 p.m.

You are correct, Kristine, many nursing case managers, therapists, counselors and aide care agencies shall go out of business if this bill passes. Send your concerns to your legislator.


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 10:13 p.m.

I work with those who have sustained catastrophic traumatic motor vehicle accident injuries requiring complex care programs. MCL 500.3104 created the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association. This entity is a non-profit, unincorporated association comprised of all insurers who sell policies in Michigan; last time I checked, it held about $8.1 billion in cash equivalent assets.Membership in this organization is needed as a precondition of authority to issue no-fault policies in the State of Michigan. The Michigan Legislature in 1978 established the MCCA in response to serious concerns that the 1973 no-fault law placed too weighty of an onus on insurance carriers in the event of catastrophic injury claims. Its chief aim is to reimburse member insurers in the event of injury claims handled pursuant to which the payout of personal injury protection benefits exceeds the catstrophic level, which had been established at $250,000 per claimant. The $250,000 limit had not been adjusted for inflation since the year the MCCA was formed in 1978. Public Act 3 of 2001 the catastrophic threshold was increased to $300,000 for policies issued or renewed from July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2003; that remedial amendment also creates further increases up to $500,000 in 2013, after which the amount will be adjusted biennially by the lesser of 6% or fluctuations in the Consumer Price Index. Sect. 3107 of the No-Fault Act gives broad coverage to claimants for care, recovery, and rehabilitation deemed reasonably necessary due to accident injuries. The great promise of this is that there is unlimited coverage for allied health care services such as physical therapy and speech pathology clinics, vocational counseling, nursing case management, attendant care, and residential care facilities; health insurers typically have limited or no coverage for such services. Passage of this bill will devastate a system that has been beneficial to severely injured claimnts and their families.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 1:56 p.m.

And makes our insurance premiums among the very highest in the country - no thanks.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 9:53 p.m.

Whatever one thinks of this law, one just has to love the respect the Republican Party shows for the state's citizenry, packaging this bill in such a way so as to prevent it being overturned by the process of initiative and referendum. I guess Republicans don't like big government dictating people's lives . . . . except when they do. Good Night and Good Luck

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 12:15 p.m.

OK--now you're just being argumentative. I say potato. You say potaaaaato. Whether &quot;rick&quot; or &quot;maneuver&quot;, Republicans have used the Constitution in a way clearly not intended to prevent the public from amending or eliminating what is sure to be an unpopular law. GN&amp;GL


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 4:50 a.m.

@ERMG: It's not a &quot;trick&quot;, but clever legislative maneuvering that shall preclude a statewide referendum. The Michigan GOP is well aware how successsful MADD was in defeating a referendum aimed at slicing no-fault premiums by initiating a public relations campaign showing all the good things that a comprehensive no-fault policy can cover to help catastrophically-injured persons victimized by drunk drivers.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 3:19 a.m.

You are missing the point. Republicans, through a legislative trick, have prevented the people of Michigan from overuling the legislature through initiative and referendum. GN&amp;GL


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 12:42 a.m.

THe public will have a choice, however, polls show that 85% will purchase the $50,000 coverage minimum. When they have acatastrphic accident and exhaust that amount, they will have access either health insurance or Medicaid coverage and deal with a medical recovery regimen that will be severely limited in scope compared to full no-fault policy coverage.


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 9:51 p.m.

&quot; includes a $50,000 appropriation to prevent a voter referendum on the bill.&quot; What the heck does that mean other than bypassing the voting power of citizens. How does the $50k work? If the bill is so great why is the anti referendum portion needed. Seems like somebody wants eat their cake (and your's) and have it too.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:37 a.m.

hence bills with a $5 appropriation tagged onto it. Snyder has already made good use of this disingenuous tactic. We need to start feeding these guys to the lions.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 10:06 p.m.

Under the state constitution, any bill that has an appropriation in it, however small, cannot be overturned by voter referendum. Gotta love these thugs in Lansing and their respect for the people they allegedly represent. Good Night and Good Luck


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 9:50 p.m.

&quot;We are the only state in the nation where motorists are required by law to purchase unlimited medical insurance.&quot; Does anyone doubt if this is true? If it is, you have to wonder if it is a good idea. I think Mr. Irwin is way off base and just dead wrong. I would like to see some statistics to support his contentions of lost jobs. Also, how many accidents occur each year that use this benefit? I think if a person has the option of purchasing $5 million, that should be enough to cover care for life. Also Mr. Irwin's contention that premiums may not go down makes little sense. He is implying that all insurance companies will not lower rates, not even a few that will realize they could attract a lot more customers by doing so. I have long thought the insurance industry was dirty and it needs reform all right but not just health insurance. Auto insurance companies screw you by claiming your car is not worth repairing. I have to pay for medical insurance that only covers what my health insurance will not cover, even though my health insurance covers everything.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:35 a.m.

Average Joe, your logic doesn't hold water. Just because everybody else does it doesn't make it right. Didn't your parents ever tell you that as a child? Michigan was the first english-speaking government in the world to abolish capital punishment. You probably think that that's wrong also, I am thinking. But execute one innocent man and then try to apologize for it later.... kinda hard, ain't it. So, let's just make mistakes that affect quality of life negatively for those who are injured in catastrophic accidents just because it makes good business sense. After all, corporations are people too. Except when it comes to personal responsibility.

average joe

Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 5:15 p.m.

Since we are the only state required by law to have unlimited insurance, is mr. Irwin saying that the other 49 states are wrong in the way they regulate auto medical insurance? Why are we the only state? Are we that much smarter, or are we just over-insured?


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 4:59 p.m.

@chotbyl: You are absolutely right. The MCCA has done a great deal of good to benefit the families of severely injured auto accident victims. There are many therapies by allied health care providers that would never be cvered by typical health insurance plans. I am glad to hear your story.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 2:26 a.m.

$5 million would be enough to cover care for life you say...from what age? Some victims are children, some are young adults, some are middle aged and some are elderly. Whose lifetime? My son suffered a severe traumatic brain injury when he was 17, he is now 28 and still receiving various types of care due to his auto accident related injuries. These services currently cost over $100,000 per year. He went through the $500,000 cap the insurance company had to pay in less than 2 years and has been receiving his coverage through the MCCA fund for over 8 long do you think the $5,000,000 they are proposing is going to last someone in his situation under the proposed changes? Far as you health insurance coverage goes, if you get catastrophically injured, you can't work &amp; then there goes the health insurance. Even if you are covered by a spouse's insurance there are many things health insurance does not cover. We had health insurance when our son was injured and thank God we had our car insurance or there would have been a lot of therapies he would not have been able to benefit from.


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 10:16 p.m.

There are abuses on both sides insurers as well as insureds and their providers. That is what the bill addresses.


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 9:38 p.m.

Has this guy ever missed a chance to get his name in the news? The issue is mandatory no fault insurance. So you'll stil have a choice if this bil is passed. You can choose to buy life time coverage or some thing less and pay accordingly. There isn't any &quot;free lunch&quot;. The tax payers of Michigan can either adopt this new bill so they have choices or face the reality of substantially increased auto insurance.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 2:16 a.m.

You will have a choice alright and it won't work in your favor. Currently insurance companies pay up to $500,000 for catastrophic injury claims, then the MCCA picks up any costs related to the accident injuries for the injured parties lifetime. The proposed law requires that YOU buy a minimum of $500,000 in coverage. You can if you choose buy $1,000,000 or $5,000,000 in coverage. If you buy the $5,000,000 coverage and are catastrophically hurt in a car accident, the MCCA fund would pick up 90% of the costs over $500,000 up to $1,000,000 coverage and then 100% of anything over the million up to the $5 million you chose. Now, lets say you suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, and you never quite recovered well enough to make it out of your wheelchair or feeding tube.....where do you seriously think you are going to be when that $5,000,000 in coverage you chose runs out???????

David Briegel

Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 12:31 a.m.

Hey dude, Jeff has never missed an opportunity to be of service to his constituents. Pretty cool, huh? Which master do you serve?

say it plain

Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 9:48 p.m.

Have you read the article, @annarboral?! The bill would eliminate your right to buy life-time coverage, says so right in the piece... The GOP also structured this bill so that it includes an appropriation--no reason to package this in that way, EXCEPT to prevent voters from actually weighing in on whether they want their insurance coverage to change like this. So, if the GOP stopped using their chances to skirt around these small issues like serving the citizens of the state instead of insurance companies, Jeff Irwin would 'miss some chances' to complain about it :-)