Read below how the year ended regarding Auto No-Fault Reform:
Legislative Update December 2019
The Legislature has now officially adjourned for 2019 after a most tumultuous exercise to reach a budget deal for Fiscal Year 2020. And while there is, and remains, a complicated budget agreement between the Administration and the Republican majorities in the legislature, the issue of raising appropriate and realistic funding for infrastructure improvements was NOT resolved. This issue is heading into another round of discussion during the first quarter of 2020 where Governor Whitmer will unveil a new proposal to the legislature.
There remains a high degree of irony and dismay that the Administration, which tried to leverage auto no-fault reform and then later Republican budget priorities for a road funding solution, has struggled to achieve her top priority. Soon, the legislature will find themselves working on the new Executive Office Budget Recommendations for FY 2021, the Governor’s new road funding proposal AND hopefully the much-needed fixes to some of the auto no-fault reform flaws identified by stakeholders and the Administration. The combination of these three issues being considered again, around the same time, hopefully will produce different outcomes for all. However, as stated before, any window of opportunity for limited fixes to PA 21 and 22 will need to be achieved well before the Legislature breaks for the summer.
We continue to have good conversations with House and Senate Leadership on possible reforms, have met with the Governor, and are having “productive” discussions with her staff and the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS). But don’t be surprised, nor alarmed, when you hear the Governor praise the passage of auto no-fault reform in her yearend media interviews. See below what she just recently stated:
“ People were so pleased that we could find some common ground. The high cost of auto insurance is something that has vexed our state for a long time. Previous administrations couldn’t get it done and we got it done in the first five months and it was bipartisan,” Whitmer said. “Next summer, people are really going to feel the relief of it. We’ve already seen the [Michigan] Catastrophic Claims Association cut their rates. This is going to bring real savings to Michigan consumers that have choice, we will preclude discrimination that has been part of the problem. So, I think this is a big deal.”
CPAN’s meeting with DIFS earlier this week was overall a good meeting. We reviewed a number of issues including the PIP Choice forms, the increased funding they received for implementing the reforms, the growing list of “technical “ changes needed, the identification of unintended consequences resulting from poorly drafted language and not well thought out policy, the need to fix the fee schedule for the post-acute industry, family provided attendant care limitations, the unworkable accreditation language and the retroactive application to those families already in the system. There was also a brief discussion on the utilization review process, which I have included in the link below. This document highlights the proposed rules from the department. No public hearing has been posted yet, but MBIPC and CPAN are already seeking comment from members to provide written comments to the department. I know that MBIPC has sent out a call to action to its Board members and Government Relations members asking them to review and provide comment by January 7th, prior to their January 10 MBIPC Board meeting. If you plan on taking this opportunity to provide input, I urge you to get your suggestions and questions to the CPAN office by January 10th so we can have adequate time to construct comments to DIFS. email@example.com
The draft rules may be viewed here: https://dtmb.state.mi.us/ARS_Public/Transaction/RFRTransaction?TransactionID=122
Work continues on planning and executing the town hall meetings that are scheduled through the first quarter of 2020. We will need ALL stakeholders – providers, survivors and families to actively engage in these town hall discussions as well as participating in various other forums offered through civic/community and service organizations. It is our expressed objective to have targeted legislators go back to their respective leadership pressing for needed changes. Without this pressure from caucus members, the Senate and House Republican leadership will be far less inclined to address the issues we have identified as critical to providing care to those catastrophically injured.
Happy Holidays to you and yours.
Kevin A. McKinney