Candidates discuss auto insurance reform
Published 6:00 am, Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Recently, the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and Saginaw Chamber of Commerce held a Michigan Gubernatorial Debate on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University. Three candidates participated: Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, State Sen. Patrick Colbeck and Dr. Jim Hines. The following summarizes their answers to a question regarding auto insurance reform.
Question: “When is Lansing going to fix our auto insurance situation?”
All three candidates emphasized the need for auto reform.
Calley: The approach that I like on these issues is to find the areas where you can get and obtain more support across the aisle. The first is a fraud authority with real teeth in it, especially on the medical end of things. I’m talking about investigative power and penalties. So much of our rates are high because of the medical rates that are inherent in our system. There are other issues that need to be fixed. If you start with that one, which would pass, you make a dent in it and now you got people working together to deal with other issues, like a rate schedule and choices on personal injury protection.
Colbeck: When I looked at my auto insurance, $1,300 per year, $800 of that goes towards health insurance. I’ve been a big free-market health care advocate and proposed solutions to lower health care costs in our state by 20 percent. If you do that, you lower the liability in the Michigan Catastrophic Fund by over 20 percent, you lower our insurance rates. So, I’ve zeroed in on lowering the overall health care costs.
Hines: This is a huge problem. There are people that don’t move to Michigan because of the auto insurance, $1,500 per year per car. There are three areas that I believe need attention. One is the fraud authority. Another is the fee schedule. When you have a chest X-ray, it’s $65. But, when you are in an auto accident and have a chest X-ray, it’s $635. There needs to be a fee schedule. If you have a chest X-ray, it should be the same price. I think the momentum we have seen in this state will not continue if we don’t get this fixed.