LANSING (AP) – A Michigan House panel is hearing testimony on a proposal that would end Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s tax-exempt status and transform the health insurer from a charitable trust to a customer-owned nonprofit.

The House Insurance Committee on Tuesday was listening to backers and critics of the proposed overhaul of the state’s largest insurer that’s passed the state Senate.

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Consumer advocates say it deregulates Blue Cross Blue Shield and removes customer protections. Supporters say adequate regulations are preserved and the legislation levels the playing field for all state insurers.

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Committee Chairman Pete Lund says another hearing is scheduled next week and he wants the measure to get a full House vote by year’s end.

The plan requires approval by the Legislature and Blue Cross’ board of directors.

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