The cost of medical care can reach astronomical proportions. But a drastic proposal backed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to cut the costs the state pays for people who are hurt in catastrophic auto accidents is not a proper response.
Crash victims whose medical costs exceed $500,000 now have their care completely covered by the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association — the most generous such program in the nation. Mr. Snyder is supporting legislation before the Michigan House that would cap insurance claims for anyone injured in an auto accident at $1 million.
After that, the victims would be out of luck. A million bucks sounds like a lot of money, unless you‘ve known someone who has endured such injuries.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, a senior figure in the Michigan Republican Party, was in an auto accident last summer that put him in a coma for days and left his driver a quadriplegic. Normally a strong supporter of the governor, Mr. Patterson called the insurance proposal “an embarrassment to the Republican Party” and said he would do anything he could to fight it.
A spokesman for the Michigan Health & Hospital Association called the bill “a vehicle for the auto insurance industry to shift its costs to the state Medicaid system and the taxpayers.” It’s hard to quarrel with that assessment.
Health-care costs need to be reined in. A hard look at what doctors and hospitals charge is in order.
But denying severely injured people care they’ll need all their lives would be cruel and unfair. The Legislature should reject this bad bill.