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Dayton starts two health care task forces for insurance exchange, cost cutting

One task force will design Minnesota's version of a health insurance exchange, which is required under the new federal health care law. The other will look more broadly at ways to cut costs and improve quality in the state's health care system.
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One task force will design Minnesota's version of a health insurance exchange, which is required under the new federal health care law. The other will look more broadly at ways to cut costs and improve quality in the state's health care system.

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State officials are working on setting up a public health insurance exchange for Minnesota. Meanwhile, a private version of the same concept is catching on quickly with businesses looking to cut insurance costs.

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Lawmakers there could approve a bill during a special session this week to authorize a health insurance exchange system, one of the requirements of federal health reform. The idea is to create a website to help consumers compare the costs and benefits of different policies.

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Gov. Dayton may not be able to create an exchange without legislators on board, and Republicans aren't likely to support a state-run insurance marketplace. The problem is the federal health care overall requires that states show they can run their own exchanges, and if they can't, the federal government will step in to do it for them.

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Gov. Dayton on Monday said legislation may be necessary to set up the state's health insurance exchange program. He says his administration is still going over the finer points of the federal law and does not yet know whether a bill from the Legislature would be absolutely necessary. Regardless, he says he's hoping for Republicans' cooperation going forward.

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