Is Michigan No Fault reform dead?

June 4, 2013

HB 4612 is on life support. Let's pull the plug

No Fault "reform" House Bill 4612, proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder and Rep. Pete Lund, is being met with strong resistance. And according to Capitol insiders, medical groups, insurance company execs and no fault insurance attorneys familiar with HB 4612, the proposal is likely to die.

But the insurance company lobbyists are busy working and making changes to make the next bill more palatable.

HB 4612 would cap necessary medical care to $1 million, leaving catastrophically injured auto accident victims to be shifted to Medicaid, at the taxpayers' expense. It would also cost Michigan drivers and accident victims to lose important legal protections.

Meanwhile, HB 4612 would boost insurance company profit margins, leaving auto insurance companies who do business in Michigan to be the most profitable in the entire nation.

And this would all be in exchange for only a one year guarantee of savings of approximately $150. After that, the price for auto insurance could go up, and drivers could quickly end up paying more than they do today - even though drivers would lose many other important legal rights. Here's a list of the negative effects HB 4612 would have.

My legal partner, David E. Christensen, was recently interviewed in Michigan Lawyers Weekly as part of a story tracking the progress of House Bill 4612.

Dave is chair of the Michigan Association for Justice No Fault Insurance Committee. He told Michigan Lawyers Weekly that based on the number of "no" votes tallied when the HB 4612 was voted out of committee, it may likely "lie on the floor for the rest of the term."

The clear bi-partisan opposition to the bill, and outcry from auto accident victims, medical providers and fiscally conservative Republican lawmakers, such as L. Brooks Patterson of Oakland County, Michigan, is what's driving HB 4612 downhill.

Said David in the newspaper: "[The legislation] is such an overreach; there is nothing in the bill to negotiate. The only things that could survive [are] some kind of cap and some kind of balanced fraud program -- it would have to be balanced and must address fraud by the public but also must address fraud by the [insurance] industry."

Here is the full story in Michigan Lawyers Weekly: Bill to overhaul no-fault may be in jeopardy now.

For more information, in-depth analysis and the latest updates on No Fault Reform, please visit our Michigan No Fault Reform Resource Center.