AuthorErvin, Mike

Things are pretty screwy in Michigan these days.

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer is out on the campaign trail gushing about the $400 auto insurance rebate that Michigan voters are supposed to receive, thanks to her incredible ability to reach across the aisle. In response, Michiganders who are disabled as a result of car accidents and their family members have begun showing up at the offices of state lawmakers in Lansing to highlight the downside of this rebate.

In Michigan, there is a fund that covers the cost of the lifetime disability-related expenses of state residents who become disabled in car accidents. The money in the fund comes from the no-fault lifetime liability payments that are a part of the states auto insurance premiums.

This was once a mandatory component of every auto insurance policy in Michigan. That kept the fund flush enough to cover the cost of providing more than 6,600 disabled people with the assistance they need at home with basic daily tasks such as dressing, bathing, and moving about. These are among the 18,000 injured Michiganders who were receiving some level of medical care under the old program.

But in 2019, state lawmakers passed "reform" legislation that screwed over those 6,600 disabled people big time. Those who were the catalysts of the reform effort must have known how much it reeked because the law was put forward and voted on with little notice and virtually no public debate.

The new law, among other things, ended the requirement that all policyholders pay a fixed amount into the fund. It also required some of the rehab clinics and agencies that treat crash victims to cut their prices by 45 percent, which, as the Detroit Free Press reported, has led to some of these facilities anticipating closure and telling "patients and their families to start looking for alternative arrangements."

It doesn't take Nostradamus to predict the brutal consequences. According to the Michigan Brain Injury Provider Council, 1,548 disabled people have lost needed care because of the law change and at least 3,049 health care jobs have disappeared. Infuriating media stories circulated of disabled people who rely on the fund suddenly having their support cut off due to lack of money.

The state legislature created this crisis and is obviously in the best position to do something about it quickly. But the Republicans who control both houses of the Michigan legislature just don't care. Bills intended to repair at least some...

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