Minn. GOP vows to slow health exchange bill

Republicans say they will offer about 100 amendments to an insurance exchange bill when the Minnesota Senate debates it Thursday.

The state needs legislation in place by the end of this month. Republicans have complained the DFL-controlled Legislature is moving too fast on the health plan marketplace.

But the GOP blocked exchange legislation when Republicans controlled the Legislature over the past two years.

"We didn't think that government control of health care was a good idea and we hoped there would be another path out," said Assistant Minority Leader Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake. "But frankly, this bill still isn't ready because there are so many unanswered questions."

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Senate Minority Leader David Hann said he doesn't regret the delay in passing the bill because Gov. Mark Dayton is a Democrat.

"Whatever the Legislature might've passed last year or the year before, my thought is it would end up pretty much what the governor's getting today," Hann said.

The Minnesota House passed its exchange bill last Monday. State insurance exchanges are a key part of the federal health care overhaul and Minnesota's is expected to serve more than 1 million people starting in October.

If lawmakers fail to meet federal deadlines and get a bill to the governor's desk by the end of the month, the federal government will take over more of control for a state exchange.