Auchter's Art: The kind of auto insurance changes we need to aspire to
There is lots that is unfair about comparing Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the recent auto insurance agreement to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the Munich Agreement of 1938. So let's start with what is fair.
It does feel a lot like appeasement. What the majority of Michiganders want and want now is lower auto insurance rates. In fact, we wanted to pay less yesterday (and several years of yesterdays before that). Which is why the Legislature and governor felt increasing pressure to do something. So they did, and I will be delighted to pay less money. But I don't have confidence that the changes properly address the systemic issues.
Also, it felt rushed. I know our government can be, by its nature, arcane and sometimes that is simply how the sausage is made. But that makes hearing "don't worry, you'll like" just that much more suspicious.
Okay, so what isn't fair is that there is no singular Nazi Germany villain here. I don't think the insurance companies, the medical providers, the trial lawyers (and the lawmakers they lobby) are inherently evil. They just all have vested interests that, in many cases, work against lower insurance costs. So to that end, we all need to be careful not to declare this package as any sort of final victory, but part of the continuing battle to make auto insurance affordable.
Actually, I take back what I said about villains. I think the true inherent evil here is our health care system. We should neither be forced to pay for Personal Injury Protection as part of auto insurance or have to decide what level we may like. The care we get after a catastrophic accident shouldn't have anything to do with being in a car. Doesn't matter how it happened, we all deserve decent, quality care. And without bankrupting us or our family. That's the kind of change to auto insurance we need to aspire to.
John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.