The Minnesota House has passed a bill creating an online health insurance marketplace that aims to give at least 1.3 million Minnesotans a new way to purchase coverage. The House passed the bill early Friday on a vote of 72 to 61. Most Democrats backed the bill while Republicans opposed it.
Voting no was Republican Greg Davids of Preston who called it extremely problematic with a huge cost in premiums. Davids, who pulled his co-sponsorship from the bill earlier, says a seven-member board that will oversee the exchange will have no one on it who has expertise in either medicine or insurance.
The exchanges are the centerpiece of implementing President Barack Obama's federal health care changes. States had the option of creating their own exchanges or letting the federal government do it.
The bill now faces a final test in the Senate before heading to Gov. Mark Dayton, who has promised to sign it. It establishes a new state office to manage a website where insurance companies will be able to offer coverage for sale.