House OKs final version of health exchange bill, with abortion measure removed

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Minnesota House lawmakers working well into the night Thursday finally approved the health insurance exchange bill designed to create an online marketplace for Minnesotans to buy health insurance.

The measure passed on a 72-61 vote just after midnight, the Star Tribune reported.

Earlier, House and Senate negotiators had hammered out a final agreement on the measure that would establish the web portal that would dramatically change the way one in five Minnesotans shop for health insurance, an effort to give them more affordable choices.

The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation next week.

The House-approved measure stripped out one key provision that would have banned insurance companies from offering coverage for abortions, MPR reports.

The option of whether to cover abortions will be up to the insurance companies, Pioneer Press says.

The Minnesota health exchange has grown from a key component of the federal health care overhaul approved in 2010 that seeks to establish the online marketplaces for consumers to comparison shop for health insurance. The federal law allows states to set up their own exchanges if they choose to – but there is a deadline at the end of the month for states to do that.

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