LANSING, MI - House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, is hoping to hold a vote on the auto insurance package in relatively short order, possibly as soon as this week.
"I'm not ruling next week out," Leonard said in an interview Thursday."It's certainly a possibility, but I'm not going to box myself in and say it's got to be next week."
The bill to change the state's auto insurance industry lets people choose what level of personal injury protection they want to purchase -- $250,000, $500,000 or the current unlimited amount.
Initially only the$250,000 level came with a mandatory reduction of the PIPportion of a person's auto premium. But under an amendment to the bill in the House Insurance Committee on Thursday, those who chose $500,000 would save 20 percent on the PIP portion of their premium and those who keptunlimited coverage would save 10 percent on the PIP portion of their premium.
Tweaked no-fault plan would lower auto insurance costs for all Michigan drivers
The bill is intended to lower Michigan's highest-in-the-nation auto insurance rates. Aside from letting people choose a coverage level, it would also:
- lower the rates hospitals can charge auto insurance companies for treatment, which is expected to result in savings to insurers
- allow seniors over the age of 62 to opt out of PIP coverage altogether if they had other health insurance or Medicare
- Result in an increase in the state's Medicaid spending due to patients hitting a cap and relying on Medicaid for continued care. It's expected to cost $500,000 in the first year and ramp up to $80 million within 10 years, according to an analysis from the House Fiscal Agency.
Itwas approved by the committee on Thursday and is pending on the House floor, where it could come up at any time.
Asked if the changes could help win over people who are on the fence, Leonard was optimistic.
"Well it should. I mean their biggest criticism about this bill has been that it does not offer rate relief for all three tiers. We have now ensured under this bill that every person in the state of Michigan regardless of whattypeofplan they choose, they will see some type of rate relief," Leonard said.
Leonard has consistently said the package will need 10-15 votes from House Democrats to pass. While the House Democratshavenot taken a caucus position on this specific bill, some have fallen in line against it. At the committee level, Democrats voted against it or passed.
DetroitMayor Mike Duggan, a backer of the process, is working to get more Democrats on board, Leonard said.
He did not rule out the possibility that he would put it up on the board even if it didn't have the votes to pass - something he did with the proposedincome tax rollbackbecause he said members wanted to cast a vote and go on record.