Minn. health care exchange heads for final votes 15 Mar 13

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota House is preparing for what could be its final vote on a bill creating an health insurance exchange, but the debate could steer into abortion politics.

A House-Senate conference committee finished the bill late Wednesday. The House debate and vote is scheduled for Thursday evening.

The exchange, an online marketplace for buying health insurance, is the centerpiece of implementing federal health care changes. It’s meant to extend coverage to about 1.3 million Minnesotans, including 300,000 who currently don’t have health insurance. Gov. Mark Dayton says Thursday he will “enthusiastically” sign the bill if it gets through the House and Senate.

But the conference committee eliminated a House provision to bar plans sold on the exchange from covering abortions. That could mean trouble for the bill with a handful of House Democrats opposed to abortion.