Minn. House passes health exchange proposal 05 Mar 13

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota House has passed a bill establishing Minnesota’s health insurance exchange, with its sponsor calling it the most substantial changes to state healthcare policy in 50 years.

The House approved the bill 72 to 58 on Monday after a debate of more than five hours. The bill establishes a new state board to oversee an online marketplace where uninsured individuals and others can shop for and purchase private coverage. It’s a centerpiece of the Obama administration’s health care overhaul.

The vote was nearly party-line, with just one Republican joining Democrats to pass it. The goal is to cover 1.3 million Minnesotans, including about 300,000 who don’t currently have insurance.

The House approved an amendment to prohibit abortions from being covered in plans sold on the exchange.