You don’t see Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano agree on much these days, but they do agree on this – the latest attempt by the House Republican Leadership to “reform” Michigan’s no-fault law should be soundly rejected.
Speaking at Walking the Line to SCI Recovery in Southfield Michigan, a rehabilitation center specializing in providing care to spinal cord injury victims, L. Brooks Patterson, joined with Executive Ficano and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, explained the problems with the new set of proposals, which are currently supported by the insurance industry and their Republican soldiers in the state house.
As I talked about last week, the latest round of No-Fault bills contains much of the same free giveaways the insurance industry asked for but did not receive last term. They contain a cap on medical expenses, a fee schedule for medical providers, a cap on home provided attendant care and various other limitations.
As you might recall, Michigan law is unique. A motor vehicle accident victim is entitled to receive payment for all medical expenses related to the accident for life – so long as the treatment is for the person’s care, recovery or rehabilitation and the medical charges are reasonable and customary. The new proposals set to end this unique benefit – without basically anything in return for state motorists and policyholders.
At the press conference today, Patterson discussed how the new proposals take away rights for individuals hurt in auto accidents and the raw deal every Michigan driver will get if these proposals become law. Executive Ficano explained how Wayne County would be stuck with continued medical payments since the county is self-insured. Executive Hackel discussed how the legislature should be busy helping motorists with a more pressing need – namely our deteriorating roadways.
Executive Patterson also called for greater transparency from the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA). This nonprofit association created by the state legislature in 1978 reimburses car insurance carriers for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits after they exceed $530,000 per claim. A special fee is charged to all policyholders to fund the MCCA, and this fee has increased dramatically over the past 10 years.
Lawmakers want to review the MCCA’s books because the organization claims it is insolvent and doesn’t have enough money to pay future claims, despite the influx in cash from the increases in special fees. Many lawmakers and organizations refute the MCCA claims. The Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault (CPAN) filed a lawsuit to get MCCA to open its books. This lawsuit is now under appeal as the MCCA is doing everything under its power to not open its books.
The county executives of Metro Detroit are rightfully standing together in their opposition to this latest reincarnation of Michigan no-fault “reform.” I hope their opposition provides a sufficient warning shot to local state representatives as this issue continues to heat up in the days and weeks ahead.
The bills and proposals put forth by the Michigan Republican leadership do nothing for Michigan motorists. Instead, they take away vital benefits to injury victims while providing literally nothing in return – all too fatten the already stacked wallets of our state’s insurance industry.
The Michigan no-fault attorneys at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm have been helping Michigan automobile accident victims for over 40 years.
Please call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE or 1-800-533-3733 with any questions.
*Photo Credit: MLive.com