Flint water crisis could lead to Blue Cross Blue Shield changes in Michigan

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Flint water crisis could become a focus for a near-$1.6 billion endowment created through the overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

The state Senate will vote Thursday on legislation adding “public health emergency” to specific purposes for which the Michigan Health Endowment Fund can spend money. A 2013 law modernizing Blue Cross requires it to contribute $1.56 billion over 18 years.

The bill’s supporters say including a focus on public health emergencies like Flint is consistent with the fund’s mission to improve people’s health and wellness.

Opposing arguments, according to the nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency, include that the legislation is unnecessary and would reduce grants available to other communities.

The fund awarded $1.1 million to Flint causes in 2015 and 2016.

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