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Michigan lawmakers looking for ways to put the brakes on skyrocketing car insurance rates

Michigan lawmakers looking for ways to put the brakes on skyrocketing car insurance rates (FILE)

LANSING, Mich. (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) - Michigan lawmakers say they're working hard on ways to put the brakes on our states skyrocketing auto insurance rates.

Republican Speaker of the House Tom Leonard and Governor Rick Snyder both say it's a priority for them.

Speaker Leonard tells us he is all in to lower auto insurance rates.

So he's teaming up with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to find a solution and build a broad coalition to give your wallet relief.

Study after study has shown Michigan drivers pay the most in auto insurance.

"It's really hard. We are one of the only states that pays a lot in insurance more than other states," said driver Herald Coles.

Leonard says part of the problem is there is no cost control for what hospitals charge your auto insurance policy after a doctor visit.

"They are making a lot of money off this system. Again, they can charge four, five, six times more than what a commercial health insurance company pays. Again, it's unacceptable," he said.

So Leonard is looking at the idea of a fee schedule.

"We are trying to work through this but the Hospital Association has been very difficult to work with on this particular issue," Leonard said.

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association says it is not in favor of more intervention in rate setting by the government.

"It doesn't do anything for the auto insurers, and certainly doesn't have any guarantee of rate deductions for policy holders," said Michigan Health and Hospital Association representative Laura Appel.

If a fee schedule bill doesn't pass, Democrats have ideas of their own that may lower your auto insurance.

Senator Steve Bieda, from Macomb County, has a bill that would shine the light on why the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Associations charges you so much money.

"What are we waiting on. What is the purpose for waiting on this?" said Shelby Township Republican Representative Pete Lucido.

Rep. Lucido also wants to bring more transparency to the MCCA. But that's not all.

"There is 1.4 million [people] driving without insurance in this state. The Secretary of State has said it has become an epidemic," he said.

Lucido has a bill that would help law enforcement identify drivers who are driving without insurance, which would help officers get insurance-less drivers off the road.

"... immediately. Saving us all money!" he explained.

Speaker Leonard says he's willing to look at anything, but at the end of the day, he says people driving without insurance aren't doing it because they want to be criminals.

"They are not paying because people can't afford it. And what I say is the system we have set up, a system where thereby there's no cost control, a system whereby we are going to force our citizens to pay the highest rates in the nation and if they don't they won't be able to drive to work, I say that's criminal," he said.

The idea of a fee schedule has been around since the 1990s, and buckle up, because we are going to hear a lot more about it when lawmakers return to Lansing at the end of the summer.

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