Coalition says Michigan no-fault reform bill could have negative effects

Fourteen years ago, Sam was in a terrible single-car accident that left him in a coma.

He was hospitalized, and after hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical treatment, he still feels the effects of his car accident.   

"He has grand mal seizures. Not because he has a seizure disorder but because of his pituitary failure," said his mother, Maureen Howell.

That means that Sam has a traumatic brain injury, and because he had no fault insurance, 100 percent of his medical care was paid for. But now under the new no-fault bill that Gov. Whitmer recently signed, lawyers say Sam's medical coverage is in jeopardy.

"They going to fall in the sea of American healthcare, which we know is a broken system. ... This is about the care of people. In America, we don't do a very good job of caring for people and no-fault did that, and now they blew it up," said Stephen Sinas, an attorney representing auto accident victims.

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That's why many catastrophically injured people, medical providers, and others gathered in Novi on Tuesday to hear a different side of the new no-fault law.  

"Our fees will be (cut) 55 percent of what we currently charge as of January ... so for a small business such as myself that would effectively mean that I would be out of business," said Mary Fraser RN, nurse case manager.

Besides a cap on medical coverage, there are limitations on the number of hours of family member can take care of an injured person, fee schedules limit how much medical providers can charge, and what about the guarantee that the rates will be cut.

"The discrimination that people of Detroit felt on their insurance rates is going to come back to haunt them again and cause them to receive less of a reduction overall than the people out in the suburbs are going to get," Sinas said.

Now the governor says she was aware of the concerns of many, but says the new no-fault insurance bill more positives for the state than negatives.  

"Any change is going to be concerning for people that are requiring the most intensive treatment, and we did our best to protect people and I think that we were able to do that to a large measure," Whitmer said.