In two of our recent blog posts, we updated you on how the passage of a new auto insurance law could lead to a potential care crisis for some of Michigan’s most vulnerable residents when its biggest changes go into effect on July 1.
Should the law stand as now written, the rate at which healthcare providers are reimbursed will drop considerably. As a result, it’s estimated that 18,000 people will lose the care they currently receive through the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Fund, thousands of healthcare workers will lose their jobs, and hundreds of healthcare facilities will close.
Members of the Facebook group We Can’t Wait have been pressuring Michigan lawmakers to pass two bills (SB314 and HB4486) that would replace the controversial part of the current law with a more reasonable fee structure.
These two bills are currently in the insurance committee. We Can’t Wait is putting the blame for the delay on Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-16th District). A statement from his office signals that he plans on waiting until after July 1 to consider reforms, should they be necessary. Obviously, this is troublesome because the bill is in effect on July 1 and the very people who paid for policies and care will no longer receive medically necessary care.
A New Hope for Reform Advocates
House Democrats hosted a press conference on May 26 to announce their interest in changing the laws before the upcoming July 1 deadline, thereby preventing the losses set to go into effect.
State Rep. Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac) spoke at the press conference about her sons Christopher and Bryan who both passed away due to head trauma sustained in car accidents. “For those fortunate enough to survive, navigating the cost of rehabilitation can be scary, emotionally draining and confusing,” she said.
State Rep. Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) was also on hand to speak about her experience as a physical therapist, which allowed her to see the impact that lack of quality care can have on someone’s life. Representative Rogers stated, “As we approach July 1, the looming loss of health care coverage becomes excruciatingly more real for thousands of Michiganders.”
As the law stands now, on July 1, many health care providers will be reimbursed at only 55% of the rate they currently charge for care and treatment. House Democrats are calling for a cost-neutral solution that requires insurers to pay non-hospital caregivers up to 200% of the Medicare Approximation, bringing this in line with the rule for hospital treatment; however, this will take time as there are still some providers who do not bill medicare.
House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township) gave her straightforward assessment at the press conference. “On July 1, many seriously injured patients will have no place to go … We can’t take a ‘wait and see’ approach with people’s lives. We need action now.”
What You Can Do?
The Facebook group We Can’t Wait is urging Michigan residents to mail pictures and stories about their loved ones who depend on the Michigan No Fault system for benefits to their senators and the Governor. In addition, Michigan voters should ask them to support the passage of bills SB314 and HB4486. They are urging citizens and providers to make phone calls, write letters, sign petitions, and continue to support their efforts.
You may also contact firstname.lastname@example.org with additional questions.