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'Fundamentally unfair to survivors': Lawmakers file brief in lawsuit over upcoming no-fault auto changes

No Fault Auto Lawmakers Presser
Posted at 3:18 PM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 15:28:27-04

LANSING, Mich — A bipartisan group of lawmakers and former lawmakers gathered on the steps of the Capitol Wednesday to say they never intended for the upcoming medical care reimbursement cuts contained in the no-fault auto reform act to be applied retroactively.

As the next portion of Michigan's no-fault auto reform act goes into effect on July 2, insurance companies will be working with a new set of medical reimbursement fee schedules for post-acute medical care, anything needed for recovery or maintenance after you initially leave the hospital following an injury.

Insurance companies will now reimburse care providers at just 55% of what they were paying in January of 2019 when the bill was signed. Care provided by family members of survivors will also be capped at 56 hours a week.

At the press conference, Wednesday Republican Rep. Doug Wozniak said, "The reforms passed two years ago were a start, but not the end of this process. We need to make sure we keep the promise to those injured and suffering."

A group of 73 current and former lawmakers, not all in attendance Wednesday, signed what's called an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit currently in the Michigan Court of Appeals that questions the constitutionality of these changes.

According to the Public Health Law Center, "the mere filing of an amicus brief can signal to a court that a case is significant and implicates broader issues than just the litigants’ interests."

The brief states in part, "Applying retroactively the changes made to reimbursement under the No-Fault Act in 2019, specifically, the cap on family-provided attendant care and the 55% fee schedules for services not covered by the Medicare program would be fundamentally unfair to individuals who purchased coverage and were injured in motor vehicle accidents before the No-Fault Act was amended."

Some lawmakers, such as Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, have said they want to wait until the changes take effect to see if there are any adjustments that need to be made to the law.

“We can’t wait to see the numbers... this is one of my favorite things people say now, oh we’ll sit wait to see the numbers," Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. said to the crowd Wednesday.

"You are not a number, these people up here are not a number."

Wednesday's press conference happened in conjunction with hundreds of survivors and their families gathering at the Capitol to urge lawmakers to take action on two bills currently sitting in our state legislatureSenate Bill 314 and House Bill 4486.

“We want them to understand what’s going to happen to people, and what they can do to make it better,” said Maureen Howell, mother to Sam, who was catastrophically injured in a crash years ago.

“We've found that there are senators and reps that really haven’t been exposed to the bills we want passed.”

Howell has helped mobilize many of the efforts to get these bills passed.

The Facebook group We Can't Wait organized Wednesday's gathering, with lots of people offering their support.

Founder of the page, Peg Campbell, told FOX 17 Wednesday, "It seems like lawmakers are gaining a better understanding of what’s going on."

Senator Winnnie Brinks, who spoke at the press conference Wednesday afternoon, said she credits the fresh energy behind the bills to members of We Can't Wait and all of their efforts.

“Without this kind of knowledge, and without the experiences you have shared, I think this fight would be 10 times harder," Sen Brinks said.

"So, it's incredibly important for us to continue to hear from you, and I encourage everyone here to contact your legislators, your local legislator, but also, importantly, contact those people who set the agenda.”

WATCH: 'We're Paying the Price with Our Lives'
FOX 17's Special Report on Potentially Devastating Impact Auto No-Fault Reform Could Have on families

May 24, 2019Gov Whitmer & GOP Reach Deal
May 17, 2021 No-Fault Reform Could Have Devastating Impact
May 25, 2021 MI Democrats Urge Action on SB 314 & HB 4486
May 26, 2021Families Gather at Capitol to Urge Action
June 2, 2021FOX 17 Special In-Depth Report