Both fraudsters and lawmakers make you pay

If you live in Florida long enough, you know that certain words mean trouble's brewing.

Like "Category 5."

Well, here's another: "Reform."

Any time a Tallahassee politician says it, you're also in harm's way.

Especially when it comes to insurance.

The latest "reform" push has legislators vowing to crack down on auto-insurance fraud.

Sounds fair, right?

Only, here's the problem: Instead of cracking down on the fraudsters, they crack down on you.

They reduce your coverage. They make it harder for you to file claims or find a lawyer. They even try to limit the kind of medical care you can receive.

It may be true that fraudsters are soaking the system. But the "reform" lawmakers propose has you — the law-abiding, premium-paying citizen — paying the price.

Most of us, after all, simply pay our premiums and rarely, if ever, file a claim.

But if you ever try, the proposal in the Florida House would make it more difficult for you to access your compensation.

Among other things, House members want to deny you coverage for any injury you might sustain — unless you quickly seek help in an emergency room or urgent-care clinic. If you want to see your own doctor, your coverage drops.

This penalizes people like me (and most of you, I imagine) who don't immediately run to lawyers or ER rooms every time they get a hangnail.

People who, after an accident, think: OK, I'm a little sore. But I don't need to clog up the ER room asking for a bunch of X-rays I probably don't need.

If that's you, I'd call you prudent.

The state House, however, would call you a sucker.

Because if you don't go to an urgent-care clinic or some other state-approved health facility within seven days, you'll be denied coverage later on.

Yes, in a country where health-care costs are soaring — often because of unnecessary and unnecessarily expensive treatments — these lawmakers want to send everyone running to the ER or doctor.

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