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Auto insurance priorities at Marysville town hall

auto insurance priorities at Marysville town hall
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Here is all you need to know about the Friday Hall Marysville’s town discussed Topics which ranged from insurance to infrastructure, but the common denominator to dominate talk for the two state lawmakers fielding questions was financial.

State. Rep. Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway Township, and Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, spoke during the 90-minute event before a nearly full house in Marysville’s City Hall council chambers.

Questions came from the audience, some submitted by Marysville High School students and others asked by RadioFirst’s Scott Shigley, who moderated.

Pavlov strung together what-if examples of when a resident goes to the hospital with an injury and is asked if they were hurt at work or in a car crash to determine how they’re billed – with someone in the latter circumstance always paying much more.

“You as a policy owner should be able to determine the level of policy you want or can have,” he said, referencing Michigan’s status as a no-fault auto state. “Right now, you can’t elect how much coverage you can buy.”

Lauwers agreed “it’s a billing question,” and both said there are potential reforms that could reduce how much people pay, but Pavlov said running into pushback from the insurance lobby can be an issue.

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That wasn’t the only insurance-related question asked.

Toward the end of the event, the lawmakers were asked about their thoughts on healthcare and the potential impact of state control through the American Health Care Act passed in the U.S. House last week. The measure would replace the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act.

Lauwers referenced an earlier note that local road taxes are often well supported while state ones aren’t, adding it could be comparable to state healthcare decisions reflecting that “local means accessible.”

“The thought is we would see more block granting coming back to the state and the state would decide how to take care of the uninsured,” he said. “So if that money moves to the state (as opposed to) the feds … it’d be easier for you to have access. I’m encouraged by those moves if that ends up being what happens.”

Pavlov said he, too, was more comfortable with the state being able to decide how to use funding for Medicaid.

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Lauwers added most people don’t know how much healthcare really costs – that it’s a challenge often for employers, citing his own experience, seeing the cost go up with employees who’d rather have higher wages than better insurance.

“If we really want to fix health insurance as a problem, we would eliminate employer-paid health insurance,” he said.

Dan Casey, who’s director of the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County, asked about their solutions for long-term sustainable funding for infrastructure, such as failing bridges.

Citing the state’s gasoline tax and vehicle registration fees, Pavlov said they need to start thinking about changes in future transportation and how to “capture that revenue” for infrastructure.

Some questions centered around education and other pension liability issues. Pavlov and Lauwers were also asked about funding for waterfront developments.

Marine City’s Bob Klingler, who asked the question, recently purchased a building on Busha Highway from the city of Marysville and has expressed interest in the former 30-acre DTE property on the St. Clair River. He wanted to know what funding was available for developing that and the Acheson property farther north.

“If the planning is in place, probably the fastest (opportunity is) through the DNR natural resources trust fund,” he said. “… That’s a renewable resource for us because it’s money we get from our oil and gas leases and some other (sources), and that’s annual. There’s just so many different buckets out there and so many opportunities for grants that fit for a specific purpose.”

Contact Jackie Smith at (810) 989-6270 or jssmith@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter @Jackie20Smith.

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