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Blue Cross overhaul makes headway, raises concerns

November 19, 2012

A proposal that would end Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's tax-exempt status and transform the organization from a charitable trust of the state to a customer-owned nonprofit is making headway in Lansing, but not without critics trying to step in the path of the legislation to overhaul Michigan's largest health insurer. Competitors and advocates for consumers and the elderly - including the state attorney general - have been attempting to change or stop the legislation, which was proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder and enjoyed widespread support in the Michigan Senate. "Any large internal change to an insurer with 4.4 million customers representing 70 percent of the market is going to raise concerns and should be scrutinized, said Allen Goodman, an economics professor at Wayne State University. "It seems to me that it scares people a little bit. You've always had Blue Cross. It's always been a big corporation, and it's always been nonprofit," he said. "People think of the Blues as being a monolith. … It's a very valuable franchise."