Skubick: No-Fault auto insurance reform efforts heat up

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In his crusade to squeeze savings out of the state’s No Fault car insurance system, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has picked up the support of the top two Republican leaders in the legislature.

The biggest applause line in the governor’s State of the State last night was when she called for bringing down car insurance rates and she even got the Republicans to stand up.

“I finally go them to stand up,” exclaimed the governor during her speech.

Both sides were standing  because everyone is getting heat to lower car insurance rates, which are the highest in the country.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan was in town trying to eliminate the mandatory unlimited catastrophic insurance coverage and he’s hopeful.

“I think there’s enormous momentum,” said the mayor. “And the federal judge last week declaring no fault shameful has sent shock waves.”

The mayor is also upbeat because the Republican House Speaker and the Senate Republican leader agree with the mayor that drivers need choices.

The mayor argues no one should be forced to purchase unlimited catastrophic coverage.

Skubick: “Government should not force you to buy that risk coverage?”

Mayor Duggan: “People should have a choice for the coverage they an afford and I think we’re going to get it this year.”

Republican Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield believes choice is… “we call that freedom and this is America.”

State Sen. Mike Shirkey adds, “it would be a shame if we didn’t eliminate unlimited.”

But Brooks Patterson wants to keep unlimited coverage and he fears drivers with less coverage could be bankrupt with hospital costs.

And brain injury lobbyist Margaret Kroese concurs.

“People don’t choose to be in an auto accident. They don’t choose to be in an accident with their entire family and that’s the way insurance should work so that people who need life-long care have the coverage.”

Skubick: “In a word, the mayor is wrong.”

Kroese: “I would say he’s wrong and there are better ways to fix the system.”

The Republican Speaker has warned the trial lawyers, hospitals and insurance companies to compromise or else.

“If you are becoming an obstructionist to the process you will no longer be at the table and if you aren’t at the table, you will be on the menu,” warned Rep. Chatfield.

The mayor of Detroit is hoping that warning will produce a long-awaited compromise.

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