UPDATE: Skubick: Political wrangling shifts into high gear over no-fault insurance changes; cost reduction plan defeated

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UPDATE – Legislation to reduce the cost of auto insurance in Michigan has been defeated in the state House.

The bill was rejected 45-63 Thursday night in the Republican-led chamber.

The measure would let drivers opt out of a requirement to carry unlimited medical benefits through their auto insurance for crash injuries. It seeks varying cuts in personal injury protection fees for motorists choosing less coverage.

Supporters say the bill would help drivers who face the highest premiums in the country. Opponents say it would give insurers wiggle room to avoid guaranteed rate rollbacks and lead to inadequate treatment for people with brain and other catastrophic injuries.

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – A Macomb County lawmaker says he was issued a political threat if he did not cough up a “yes” vote on the no-fault car insurance issue which is up for a final vote in the Michigan House.

As they erected the state Christmas tree in front of the Capitol, Detroit mayor Mike Duggan and the House Republican Speaker were hoping to give motorists a car insurance rate reduction for a gift.

But early in the day the 55 votes to do that were not there.

Most of the people outside the House chambers were asking lawmakers to vote “no”. They claim without the current no-fault law they would be in bankruptcies. But were their enough “no” votes to kill it?

Detroit-area lawmaker Rep. Robert Kosowski explained “I can’t go back to my district and tell them, sorry, if you get in a car accident and become a paraplegic in a car accident, your family will go broke. I can’t do that.”

Mayor Mike Duggan was telling lawmakers this week that drivers need rate relief and this package delivers it to everybody.

A key to passing this bill rested with members of Mayor Duggan’s own Detroit Legislative Caucus and not everyone was voting yes.

“I don’t think this plan goes far enough,” said Rep. Fred Durhal Jr of Detroit. “It doesn’t provide real rate reductions in the state and it forces consumers to pick between good benefits and cost reductions.”

Rep. Leslie Love says the savings are there. “Saving $100 on my policy reduces my rates by 40 percent. For a lot of people who can’t afford auto insurance now, that’s a huge savings.”

There was at least one Democrat on the House floor who reveals he was lobbied by representatives of millionaires Dan Gilbert and Roger Penske and if he did not vote yes, he would have a primary opponent when he ran for the state senate.

“I did not fold,” insisted Rep. Henry Yanaz. “I called it a threat and I let them know I called it a threat.”

The lobbying continued throughout the afternoon but the votes were not there.

The question is will they be there later on?

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