In governor race, insurance change impacting catastrophic injury fund becomes heated issue

The uphill battle continues for car crash victims with catastrophic brain injuries - asking the governor and GOP lawmakers to back off a 45 percent cut in payments to out-patient clinics after a recent state auto insurance change.  And it could become a hot-button issue in the race for governor.

Soon after Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the GOP legislature changed the state's no-fault car insurance law, many brain, spinal, and other catastrophic injured citizens bitterly complained about the large cut to their out-patient rehab clinics - some of which say will have to shut down.

The governor says for the average motorist, many of whom were paying exceedingly high insurance rates, they will save money and as for those car accident victims who may lose their rehab services, the governor concedes it is a difficult situation.

"Well of course it bothers me," Whitmer said. "I am concerned about it, but we can't legislate and make a perfect system for everyone."

Subsequently, the governor has asked the legislature to revisit this issue on behalf of the victims.

"Candidly, I think the legislature made a mistake," said Republican gubernatorial hopeful Kevin Rinke. "I think the governor made a fatal mistake for these victims."

So far Rinke is the only one in the 12 person-wide GOP primary to raise this issue, speaking from personal experience having owned a brain injury clinic.

"I'm asking what's happening to those people now that are suffering because our governor agreed to a bill that was not complete, that was not understood, and needs to be repaired in the future," he said. "Those people are suffering I don't think that's right."

The governor signed the bi-partisan no-fault legislation - and Rinke was asked if he would have signed the law.

"Absolutely not," Rinke said.