Money from the insurance industry likely to blame for fast-tracking SB 248
Ross Jones, an investigative reporter from WXYZ in Detroit, published a telling article a couple of days ago regarding the Michigan insurance industry and some of our state’s legislators as it relates to SB 248, the latest no-fault reform bill. We have covered the bill extensively on our blogs.
Essentially, no-fault insurance companies believe that by capping reimbursement rates for medical providers treating auto accident survivors, the result will be lowered auto insurance premiums. So far, the only rate reduction mandated by the House’s version of Michigan SB 248 is a $100/year reduction in premiums for two years, after which there are no guarantees that rates will not increase. Stated another way, in exchange for saving a little over $8 per month for two years on your no-fault insurance premium, those traumatically injured in auto accidents will suffer. As stated by Margaret Kroese of Hope Network Rehabilitation Services, “[t]he reimbursement level would be drastically cut at that level of care,” which means that quality and access to care at that level would suffer.
Why are so many legislators so eager to push SB 248 through? It might have something to do with the amount of money the insurance industry has been giving to them over time. Here are a few figures, as reported by Ross Jones:
- Allstate’s Political Action Committee (PAC) contributed $13,000 to lawmakers (not too long before the November election);
- Friends of Farmers PAC contributed $31,000 as the November election approached (funding Republicans and some Democrats, too); and
- Michigan Association of Insurance Agents contributed $10,000 to the House Republican Campaign Committee (coincidentally, a few days later the House took up the no-fault bill).
Progress Michigan also reported that a number of Senators received healthy contributions from the insurance industry. Conveniently, those Senators also voted SB 248 out of committee. Here are the numbers:
- Senator Joe Hune (who sponsored SB 248) received $108,075;
- Senator Virgil Smith (the only democrat to vote for the bill) received $36,800;
- Senator Jack Brandenburg received $23,550;
- Senator Margaret O’Brien received $30,000; and
- Senator Rick Jones received $24,100.
Are you sure that those calling for reforming the Michigan no-fault system really have our best interests in mind?