If you watched a football game on TV this weekend, you may have seen these two commercials over and over:
The first ad features a young woman describing the car accident that left her handicapped. She says Michigan’s no-fault insurance saved her life, as the phrase “Don’t Let Them Change Michigan’s No-Fault Insurance” fills the screen.
The second ad is a direct rebuttal to the first, and implies that “Big Hospitals” are manipulating people into supporting no-fault. Some stats are cited, and then the ad ends with the phrase “Auto no-fault: a golden goose for big hospitals, a turkey for the rest of us.”
So, what are these ads really about, and why are they suddenly everywhere?
They’re talking about House Bill 5013. The bill was introduced by Republican Lana Theis of Brighton at the end of September.
HB 5013 is an attempt to overhaul the state’s expensive no-fault auto insurance system, which is by some counts the most expensive in the nation.
The “no-fault” part of the system wouldn’t change. The Personal Injury Protection (or PIP) portion would.
Currently, PIP is unlimited, meaning there is no cap on the amount of money that can be spent on lifetime medical benefits if someone is injured in a crash. The new bill would put a tiered system in place, giving motorists the option to buy a plan with a lower cap.
The debate over Michigan’s no-fault insurance policy is almost 30 years old, and a bill like this pops up just about every year. (You can read a Michigan Radio analysis of a similar bill from five years ago here.)
The arguments on both sides are the same year after year: either the current law is good because it protects people that are injured in auto accidents, or it is bad because the insurance is too expensive and allows hospitals to charge auto accident victims more than other patients.
This latest attempt to change no-fault has gotten a lot of buzz, which may be why these ads are so prominent, but the bill is currently languishing in the House Committee on Insurance. It won’t be brought to the floor until the bill’s sponsor is sure it has enough votes to pass.