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Put Patients, Motorists First: Oppose Duggan / Theis Auto Insurance Reform

Sunday, October 29, 2017

UPDATE: Last night, the House of Representatives rejected HB 5013, which would overhaul Michigan's no-fault system. Crain's Detroit Business has more on the topic>>

Competing automobile insurance reform plans are dominating headlines again in Lansing. The legislation making the biggest headlines is the highly controversial House Bill 5013, sponsored by state Representative Lana Theis (R-Brighton) and championed by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and House Speaker Tom Leonard.

The Duggan / Leonard plan would dramatically decrease coverage for many Michigan drivers, create a draconian fee schedule that would limit accident survivors access to care, and send taxpayer costs skyrocketing by an estimated $150 million each year by shifting accident survivors off private insurance and onto Medicaid.

The Michigan State Medical Society strongly opposes the Duggan / Leonard plan, House Bill 5013.

Under the Duggan / Leonard plan, motorists would be encouraged to choose limited personal injury coverage -- a $250,000 policy -- with claims they may see a small reduction in their premiums for a short amount of time.

The bill language shows that the majority of the $250,000 coverage is for "an emergency medical condition and related emergency care only." That coverage will get a driver through an emergency, but once the real recovery starts the lifetime care cap is only $25,000. This is nowhere near enough to cover the lengthy rehabilitation therapy, and possibly years of care needed after a catastrophic accident. What’s worse is that the $25,000 cap would also include wage loss, replacement services and survivor's loss benefits.

HB 5103 also caps family-provided attendant care, and it dramatically cuts funding for health care services, instituting a fee schedule on health care providers treating auto accident victims tied to the Medicare reimbursement rate.

The non-partisan House Fiscal Agency released an analysis this month showing the plan would cost taxpayers $150 million a year in higher Medicaid costs, by just the tenth year of the reform.

HB 5103, the Duggan / Leonard plan, is bad for motorists, bad for health care access, and bad for taxpayers across Michigan.

The Michigan State Medical Society supports an alternative proposal which has also generated headlines. The "Fair and Affordable" No-Fault reform plan is a bi-partisan, 16 bill package, featuring 14 different Republican and Democrat bill sponsors, including Republican representative Ben Frederick and Democrat representative Donna Lasinski.

The "Fair and Affordable" plan stops non-driving related factors from unfairly impacting auto insurance rates, institutes transparency requirements for the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association, aggressively tackles fraud and claims handling abuse, and adopts a much more reasonable fee schedule to rein in medical costs related to auto injuries, all without hundreds of millions of dollars in additional costs to Michigan taxpayers.

Lawmaker should oppose House Bill 5103, the Duggan / Leonard plan, and support the bi-partisan "Fair and Affordable" reform package.

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