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Michigan on verge of showdown over high car insurance rates

Sen. Aric Nesbitt, a Lawton Republican, speaks with reporters following a Senate committee's party-line vote in favor of his bill that would end a requirement that drivers have unlimited medical coverage through their car insurer on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in Lansing, Mich. Nesbitt says health costs are driving high auto insurance rates in the state. (AP Photo/David Eggert)

LANSING, Mich. — The state with the highest car insurance premiums in the country is on the verge of a political showdown over long-running efforts to cut rates by reining in generous medical benefits.

Michigan is among a dozen “no-fault” states where drivers must buy personal injury protection, but it’s the only one to require unlimited coverage for crash victims. Motorists need not worry about health expenses, but the insurance is expensive.

Now, a Republican-led Legislature that’s pushing to save people money by making the coverage optional has passed bills out of both chambers.

Lawmakers must still resolve differences between the measures. But if they do, Republicans could send an auto insurance overhaul to Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and dare her to veto it. She’s warning she won’t sign the legislation without changes.

David Eggert, The Associated Press