GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — Catastrophically injured car crash survivors, their loved ones and supporters showed up at the Kent County Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday morning to ask commissioners to support a resolution calling on lawmakers to find a narrow legislative solution to the new no-fault auto insurance law.
35 other counties across the state, including Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Allegan and Van Buren, have already backed a resolution calling on the Michigan Legislature to “save care and lives” by restoring a “reasonable cap on home care.”
Attendees at Thursday’s meeting hoped to convince Kent County Commissioners to join the effort.
Several car crash survivors spoke during a public comment session, describing how the new law has impacted their access to life-saving medical care.
“I can’t wait until November… This needs to be sorted out now,” one woman said.
“Please fix it now. Don’t wait, fix it now.”
Lesley Bush has opened up about her daughter Angela, who was injured in an accident 20 years ago.
“The same people who said we were going to fix these shortcomings, that these effects were unintended, are now saying we just have to move on,” Bush explained.
“The policy they are using is not serving Kent County… car accident survivors, their lives forever changed, are not asking taxpayers to provide services to them, they are asking for benefits they paid for , which they legally have contracts for.”
Under the new law, which went into effect July 2, 2021, any medical service not already covered by our Federal Medicare Act, which includes home caregivers and transportation to medical services, will not be now reimbursed by insurance companies only at 55% of what they were in 2019. The law also limits the number of hours family members can provide care to just 56 hours per week.
According to CPAN, a group focused on preserving our old no-fault car system, at least eight people have died since the changes took effect, due to loss of access to certain care.
There are approximately 18,000 Michiganders currently receiving medical benefits from their no-fault auto policies.
A report released in early August, conducted by Michigan Public Health and commissioned by the Brain Injury Association of Michigan, found that 6,857 crash survivors were discharged from local healthcare providers and 4,082 healthcare workers lost their use.
They found that 10 care businesses have had to shut down completely since the changes took effect, while another 14 businesses plan to close in the next 12 months.
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