The Detroit metro’s “Big Four” – Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano – will speak with one voice against proposed changes in Michigan’s no-fault automobile insurance law at a Monday news conference.
The news conference will be held at 9 a.m. at Walk the Line to SCI Recovery, 23800 W. 10 Mile Road, Suite 193, Southfield.
They will voice opposition to changes proposed by Michigan House Republicans, who have resurrected reform efforts after failing to get enough support for the sweeping changes last year.
They want to scrap the current law, which offers unlimited lifetime medical benefits for people who are catastrophically injured in automobile crashes, and replace it with a system that sets the cap at $10 million. Insurers would also be required to guarantee a 10 percent savings for the first two years an automobile policy is in effect.
Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger, the Marshall Republican who is leading the effort, told the Detroit Free Press that Michigan’s automobile insurance is among the best in the country, but the rates residents pay are also among the highest in the nation.
“Families are struggling to pay their auto insurance bills,” he said. “We want to maintain the best, but make it affordable.”
Democrats defeated H.B. 4612 last spring, but its new form may have more bipartisan support.
“When you work through each of the items, we’ve addressed every single issue of opposition,” Bolger said.
At Monday’s news conference, the “Big Four” are expected to defend unlimited lifetime medical coverage for families and individuals who live with catastrophic injuries in automobile accidents. It’s a personal crusade of sorts for Patterson, who was critically injured in a 2012 accident that left his driver paralyzed from the neck down.
He and his driver were working at the time of the accident, so their medical bills are covered by worker’s compensation. But he told Michigan Radio last year that his injuries increased his awareness and made him more sympathetic to the plight of people catastrophically injured in automobile accidents.
In that interview, he said that without the law providing unlimited coverage, individuals such as his driver, who was left a quadriplegic in the accident, “would have been put into a medical warehouse, a nursing home, a rest home under Medicaid never to be seen again.”DISCUSS: Do you support caps on medical coverage for people catastrophically injured in automobile accidents and other changes to the no-fault law? If so, what would you change and why?