Opinion: Cost-saving car insurance plan demonstrates real compromise

Jason Sheppard

The Michigan Legislature made history approving a landmark plan to help drivers across the state save money on car insurance. Forged by hard work to hammer out bipartisan compromise, this plan is a win for Michigan drivers — and also demonstrates the dignified, deliberative democratic process all voters expect and deserve.

The plan to lower car insurance rates headed to the governor’s desk is a smart solution that delivers real savings to all Michigan drivers.

After two weeks on negotiations with our Democratic partners across the aisle and in the governor’s office, the plan headed to the governor’s desk is a smart solution that delivers real savings to all Michigan drivers.

It’s important – crucial, even — to note that this solution didn’t develop overnight. Car insurance reform has been hotly debated for three decades, and it’s been a focus of mine since first going to Lansing in 2015. A solution did not fall from the sky. Rather, real reform came together this year because of an innovative, deliberative and collaborative process championed, in large part, by the Michigan House.

A special panel of both Republicans and Democrats – called the House Select Committee on Reducing Car Insurance Rates met for the past several months, holding 15 committee hearings where testimony was given from interested parties. Over a thousand individual drivers contacted the committee with their ideas for reform through online submission. All of this was taken into account and much of the committee’s work is incorporated into the legislation that will soon be headed to the governor’s desk.

Gov. Whitmer and Democrats joined us in insisting on some parameters. Unlimited medical coverage remains an option for anyone who wants to continue buying it. There’s guaranteed rate relief for all Michigan drivers – accomplished by mandated rollbacks on the personal injury protection portion of policies. Our plan also prevents insurance companies from using non-driving factors in the determination of rates.

I firmly believe this plan represents the very best product the representatives of the people of Michigan have to offer.

This important reform was a long time in coming. It would be a fair criticism to say it was too long in coming for the 7 million drivers in Michigan who carried the weight of the most expensive auto insurance system in the country. After more than three decades, this 100th legislature was at last able to deliver real reform by setting aside the soundbites and putting in the work.

It is my hope that these negotiations mark the beginning of a renewed spirit of compromise and bipartisanship in our policy making. It is my hope that we will at last put an end to needless delays on important policies because of political charade.

The true measure of any representative democracy is whether we, as the elected representatives of the public, reflect the will of the people. We cannot be so wrapped up in the label of our respective political party that we reject good and reasonable ideas, just because they might come from the other side of aisle. In that spirit, the Michigan House of Representatives will continue to lead the way in forging sound policy through open dialogue and compromise.

Rep. Jason Sheppard is the House Majority Whip and represents the 56th District in the Michigan House.