HomeCar InsuranceCar crash survivors, supporters protest outside House Speaker Joe Tate's office

Car crash survivors, supporters protest outside House Speaker Joe Tate’s office

Survivors of catastrophic car crashes lay down on the floor outside Democratic House Speaker Joe Tate’s office on Wednesday, calling out Governor Gretchen Whitmer, House Insurance and Financial Services Committee Chair Brenda Carter, and House Speaker Joe Tate over stalled auto no-fault bills.

That’s after Tate blocked discussion of Senate bills that could restore long-term care for survivors, saying the discussion would have to wait until after the state budget is done.

Protesters held lilies and candles in a symbolic reference to people who died after losing care due to slashed reimbursements in the state’s auto 2019 no-fault law.

The state Senate passed bills months ago (SB 530, 531, and 575) to restore reasonable payments for long term care, but the bills have not been given a hearing in the House.

Nearly three people a day are seriously injured in catastrophic auto accidents who have paid for full personal injury protection coverage (PIP), according to the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA).

Nick Long is the owner of NeuroCare Home Health. He said in the past, his company could often provide nurses and aides to give some or all of those patients’ necessary daily care, but he has to turn them away now.

“I’m a wheelchair user myself, and if I hadn’t had the proper care, I probably wouldn’t be alive today,” said Long, adding that it seems many people still don’t realize how their car insurance coverage changed after 2019.

Chalisse Wilson is a caregiver for her brother, who was severely injured in a crash prior to 2019. Her brother also has home care aides provided by an agency. The Michigan Supreme Court said people with injuries sustained in pre-2019 crashes are eligible for lifetime medical care at reasonable rates, but not those injured after the law passed.

“This affects every single person that does the risky business of driving every day,” she said. “And if someone were to experience an accident like my brother’s, unfortunately they will not have the access to care they need to survive.”

Tate’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment about the protest.

Insurance lobbyists say the law should not be changed because it’s saving people money. It did reduce car insurance costs slightly — an average $24 a year, but the state’s rates remain among the highest in the nation, and insured drivers in Detroit still pay the highest insurance rates of any city in the nation.

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