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House approves legislation to overhaul Blue Cross

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 7, 2012 at 6:54 am •  Published: December 7, 2012

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Republican-led Michigan House on Thursday followed the Senate in approving a proposal to end Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's tax-exempt status and transform it from a charitable trust to customer-owned nonprofit.

The legislation passed the Republican-controlled Senate in October.

Supporters said the proposal modernizes the insurer and allows it to be taxed and regulated as its competitors. Critics have said the measure short-shrifts the elderly and reduces oversight of a company controlling 70 percent of the market.

"The Legislature's reforms to transition Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to a nonprofit mutual company will play an important role in providing better access to quality health care and investment in the health of all Michiganders," Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement. "I thank Senate and House leadership for their commitment to reinventing health care in Michigan, and I look forward to signing these reforms soon."

Once Snyder signs the measure, Michigan will join 12 other Blue Cross Blue Shield companies nationwide structured as mutual insurers. That means the organizations are owned by members. Those companies operate in 14 states.

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