LANSING, Mich. — Michigan House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R–Farwell) says he will no longer consider reform bills concerning the 2019 no-fault auto insurance law.
Wentworth released the following statement to FOX 17:
"I've spent an entire year looking at every idea that was proposed and working with our committee on options. They all either move us back toward the old status quo or put the savings and refund checks for Michigan drivers at risk. At this point, it's time to move on."
The news comes after dozens of crash survivors turned out to the state Capitol in Lansing Wednesday to protest the reduced access to medical services.
READ MORE: Crash survivors back again at Capitol to urge no-fault insurance law fix
The decision means there will be no changes to the state's car insurance rules. The 2019 reforms were billed as a way to lower the cost of insuring a car in Michigan, but in order to create the savings, the package called for a drastic reduction in the reimbursement rate for health providers. Advocates for survivors of catastrophic crashes say the change is forcing many at-home health providers to go out of business.
Rep. Rachel Hood (D–Grand Rapids) released a statement in response to Wentworth’s decision, calling the measure “unethical,” saying vulnerable Michiganders will suffer as a result.
Representative Hood’s full statement reads:
“The unwillingness to work on common-sense reform bills is unethical, and it fails our constitutional duties as representatives of the people of Michigan to protect public health. SB1 pulled the rug out from under hundreds of families and their frontline caregivers. As a result of the decision to block these bipartisan reforms, countless lives and rehabilitation services have and will be disrupted. Sadly, these negative outcomes could have been easily avoided. By taking this action, the Michigan House GOP has committed itself to ensuring suffering for vulnerable families all across the state.”
The Brain Injury Association of Michigan (BIAMI) also decried Wentworth's decision, saying he "failed in his duty to serve" Michiganders in need.
BIAMI President & CEO Tom Constand's full statement reads:
“With House Speaker Jason Wentworth this week putting an end to the possibility for a legislative fix this calendar year for the care crisis—instead of doing what he has the power to do, which is to put an end to the crisis itself—he has failed in his duty to serve the interests of the people of Michigan.
“While lawmakers like Wentworth are looking the other way, we’ve heard from a growing number of Michiganders who want to step up and do more. These individuals understand where this ‘refund’ came from, and want to return it to those it was intended to help.”
FOX 17's Coverage of No-Fault Auto Reform Care Crisis
May 17, 2021 — New Law Could Have Devastating Consequences
June 2, 2021 — "We're Paying the Price With Our Lives": FOX 17 Extended Coverage
June 9, 2021 — Hundreds of Survivors Protest at Capitol
June 10, 2021 — Rep. Berman Introduces Bill to Prevent Cuts
June 23, 2021 — Advocates Rally Again at Capitol
June 26, 2021 — House Approves $10M Fund
June 30, 2021 — Advocates Say $25M Isn't Enough
July 7, 2021 — Family Scared to Lose Caregivers
July 23, 2021 — Providers Begin Closing their Doors
Aug. 4, 2021 — Patients Continue to Lose Care
Sept. 24, 2021 — Changes Causing Chaos for Survivors
Sept. 27, 2021 — 'We Can't Wait' ArtPrize Entry Highlights Care Crisis
Oct. 4, 2021 — Protest Outside Business of SML Shirkey
Oct. 14, 2021 — Some Insurers Not Following Intent of Law
Oct. 27, 2021 — New Round of Bills Announced
Jan. 11, 2022 — Report Says No Fault Reform Created Crisis of Care
March 16, 2022 — Crash survivors back again at Capitol to urge no-fault insurance law fix