2 panels working on health exchange bill

A bill to create an insurance exchange in Minnesota goes before more legislative committees this week.

Legislation creating a key part of the federal health care law in Minnesota passed its first committee last week. But the bill has 13 more committee stops amid a severe time crunch.

The state insurance exchange will provide the online gateway for at least a million Minnesotans to research and buy health insurance policies or enroll in Medicaid starting in October. The Dayton administration has secured more than $112 million in federal grants to build the exchange but still lacks legislation enacting it.

A bipartisan bill passed the Local Government Committee last week. On Tuesday, the bill goes before the Senate Judiciary and House Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy committees.

Deadlines require the governor to sign the bill no later than March 31. But because lawmakers will be on break for Passover and Easter the last week in March, they would need to pass the bill a week earlier.

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