LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Michigan legislators have called it quits for the year in order to guarantee the state’s February 27th spot on the presidential primary calendar. Additionally, with a 54-54 tie in the Michigan House after two Democrats won their mayoral elections, Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit) and the Democrats don’t appear to see a reason to stick around Lansing until the end of the year. This is the earliest end to a legislative session in 55 years.
But lawmakers leaving town early is not good news for auto crash survivors like five-year-old Annabelle of Milford, who became a quadriplegic after a 2021 catastrophic auto crash left her with a C3 spinal cord injury. Annabelle is on a ventilator and her mom struggles to access the care that Annabelle needs. Annabelle and her mom joined other auto crash survivors and home care providers at the Capitol on Tuesday to represent those who don’t have access to the medical care that they need – and to ask Michigan lawmakers to fix the current auto no-fault legislation. Annabelle and other crash survivors gathered on the second floor outside of the House and Senate Chambers on the third floor balcony yesterday as the Michigan Legislature signed papers to adjourn sine die (indefinitely).
The Michigan Homecare & Hospice Association sent out a press release on Tuesday to point out that the legislators in the House and Senate adjourned for the year without addressing pending auto no- fault legislation until next year.
Barry Cargill, President & CEO, Michigan HomeCare & Hospice Association released a statement yesterday about what happened, “While the chambers sit empty and quiet today for the signing of papers to adjourn sine die for 2023, Michigan auto crash survivors are in the Capitol to make some noise that they continue to suffer by not having access to care. Survivors who paid for care with their own auto no-fault insurance premium have waited too long for the Michigan House to make a small fix on auto no-fault reform. Home care providers have no choice but to continue to turn down auto crash survivors injured after June 11, 2019 until the Michigan House approves a solution, Senate Bills 530 & 531 and 575. The votes are in the House to pass this legislation by a strong support margin. The Speaker of the House and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer need to listen to concerns of families that this growing care crisis needs to come to an end for all catastrophic auto injured survivors, including future survivors. The suffering has gone on for four years. Legislators going home with auto no-fault reimbursement still unfinished is heartlessly unimaginable.”
Cargill continued, “The powerful auto insurance lobby continues to promote a false narrative about price hikes in an effort to delay a vote. Michigan drivers have a choice on purchasing different levels of personal protection insurance (PIP). Drivers can purchase unlimited premium coverage to ensure access to care or a lower cost premium. The bills are a narrow fix to the unintended consequences of the 2019 auto no-fault reforms.”
Home care provider Bob Mlynarek who is also a 20-year firefighter/paramedic in Harrison Township, testified before the Senate Insurance, Finance and Consumer Protection Committee last month to say that auto crash injured survivors have waited long enough for care. He discussed his career as a firefighter and all of the horrific sights that he has seen. He said, “I’ve seen a lot of things…But I have never seen anything like what I have seen in the last four years of a complete disregard for human dignity and life. How many wheelchairs do we need to bring to Lansing? How many companies need to close? How many paraplegics need to fall out of bed and lie in their own feces all night until the morning aide comes because no one was there at night. How many?…It’s been four years…Enough is enough.”