The people of Michigan aren’t interested in talk – they’re interested in results. For far too long, government officials have steered clear of delivering solutions and ignored the desires of those who entrusted them to represent them in Lansing.
Forty years. That’s how long Monroe and Wayne county drivers have demanded car insurance reform. For four decades, drivers have been sacked by nation-high car insurance premiums melting away their hard-earned savings – only to be continuously overlooked in the blind spot of their elected officials.
This is why I was inspired to serve our community as state representative. I, like you, was sick and tired of the excuse cards played by politicians. I made a promise to listen to the priorities of Michigan families and deliver solutions. I made fixing our state’s broken no-fault car insurance system my top priority because it was the priority of the elderly woman in Flat Rock on a fixed income, the single mother in Berlin Township trying to feed her children, and the Monroe High School student merely trying to afford driving to his minimum wage job.
These are real people who I refused to let down, and the very people I had in mind when I voted for a bipartisan plan delivering real cost-savings to every Michigan driver. After good-faith negotiations, the governor signed our landmark no-fault overhaul into law, putting an end to decades of partisan gridlock and Michigan’s long-standing tenure as the state with the most expensive car insurance.
The willingness of both the Legislature and the governor to come and work toward a compromised solution for the largest budget issue facing Michigan signifies that we can accomplish anything when we work together.
Powerful players such as medical providers, insurance companies and trial lawyers have already voiced their concerns about the new law. However, that only reassures me this law is a big victory for the people of Michigan, not special interest groups.
Beginning in July 2020, every family across Michigan will have the freedom to choose how much personal injury protection (PIP) coverage they want for the first time in the state’s history, resulting in hundreds of dollars in guaranteed cost-savings each year. Drivers will be able to choose affordable, alternative PIP coverage levels that best meet their personal and family needs. Those with retiree health coverage or adequate health insurance policies will be able to opt out of PIP coverage altogether, saving up to 50 percent on their annual premiums. Michiganders interested in purchasing unlimited PIP coverage may continue doing so.
The new law also establishes a fee schedule to rein in runaway costs that result from medical providers gouging prices for car accident victims. Non-driving factors, such as ZIP codes, home ownership, credit score and educational level, are banned from determining rates. Lastly, an anti-fraud unit will crack down on fraudulent claims and bad actors abusing the system, helping further drive down costs for everyone.
I was just an average Monroe store owner known as “Joe Babe” around town then, and I still am now. I listened to your frustrations, and I dedicated my time in Lansing working hard to find and deliver a meaningful solution. I couldn’t be more proud of our historic fix to Michigan’s much-maligned car insurance system and what it will mean for Monroe and Wayne county drivers.