Legislators say they are closer than ever to reaching an agreement on auto insurance reform, but they remain uncertain what the final product will look like.
Sen. John Bizon, R-Battle Creek, Rep. Thomas Albert, R-Lowell, and Rep. Julie Calley, R-Portland, were the featured speakers at the Ionia County Republican Party meeting on May 16.
“We want to make sure everybody is educated and that we are transparent,” Chairwoman Miranda Sharp Boisseau, Republican Party chairwoman, told the audience of about 20 people. “I think it’s important to give citizens the opportunity to learn and be informed. Keeping government transparent to the voters is one of our goals.”
Earlier this month, the Michigan House and Senate each approved their own versions of auto insurance reform plans they say would fix many issues: reduce rates and give drivers more choice on personal injury protection coverage, stop price gouging on medical services for car accident victims and combat fraudulent claims to help lower costs. The proposals are aimed at ending Michigan’s long-standing tenure as the state with the costliest car insurance rates in the nation. Michigan is the only state which mandates unlimited lifetime health care coverage through car insurance.
“We have a three-tiered system, if you will, we have those who can afford this expensive health care — auto insurance policy’s a very expensive health care portion of it — and then there’s those that can’t afford it and they drive without insurance, and then we have those that move out of the state,” Albert summarized. “It’s not a very good set of options for people in Michigan to have. What the goal of the bill is, is to add choice and options, let’s add some options that people can actually afford.”
“I think this speaks very highly of leadership in both chambers (House and Senate),” Calley agreed. “This is two bodies who really want to make a change that people have been asking for that we believe is overdue. We are the only state that says we know better than you. We’re going to tell you what you have to purchase. You don’t run into that with your life insurance, your health insurance, your homeowners’ insurance. This is an anomaly.”