House Democrats Say No-Fault Reform is No Savings and Will Hurt Accident Victims

HB 4936 caps amount of medical and rehabilitative insurance drivers can buy
Tuesday, October 18, 2011

LANSING—-State House Democrats said today at a Lansing press conference that Republican-sponsored House Bill 4936 tries to change Personal Protection Insurance (PIP) benefits that voters have already voted twice to keep as they are. HB 4936 would cap the amount of PIP insurance that drivers can buy.

“House Bill 4936 attacks seriously injured victims—those, who through no fault of their own, will lose insurance coverage forcing taxpayers to pick up the tab,” said Rep. Phil Cavanagh (D-Redford). “Democratic amendments to save services that accident victims rely on were defeated by committee Republicans, and an attempt to tie-bar my bills allowing for public scrutiny of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association through yearly independent audits was also defeated. This isn’t about reform: it’s about padding the bottom lines of insurance companies at the expense of consumer protection and increased transparency.”

In addition to limiting PIP benefits, the bill also puts limits on homecare services, creates a fee schedule for hospitals and doctors, includes a $50,000 appropriation to prevent a voter referendum on the bill, and would push victims to Medicaid for their care when their insurance coverage runs out.

“The $50,000 appropriation is solely to keep voters from overturning this ill-conceived law as they have twice before when attempts were made to limit no-fault insurance benefits,” said House Democratic Floor Leader Kate Segal (D-Battle Creek). “It’s time to finally put an end to these sham appropriations tricks designed to rob residents of their say at the ballot box.”

“The proposed changes to homecare benefits will hurt both accident victims and homecare workers,” said Rep. Jon Switalski (D-Warren). “This is another example of the Republicans cutting costs for big business—the insurance industry—at the expense of accident victims and Michigan’s health care workers.”

House Democrats were joined at their press conference by Judith Guezen, from Ypsilanti, who helps care for her husband who was injured in an auto accident as a young man. Mrs. Guezen is a licensed Social Worker, a trained nurses aide, and also worked for nine years as an Emergency Medical Technician. Mrs. Guezen spoke of her experience caring for her husband, and also working as a social worker with the families of accident victims.