State lawmakers are considering whether to ask health insurers to help provide coverage for people who are currently uninsured.
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved the bill 5-1 on Wednesday. It goes to the Appropriations Committee next.
It would ask insurers to propose scaled-down policies by the end of next year that provide at least 80 percent of the coverage that state employees get now. The 2010 Legislature could then require that uninsured people buy the coverage and offer subsidies to people who can't afford it.
The subsidies could require voters to approve a tax increase. The bill's sponsor, Democratic Sen. Bob Hagedorn, says a tax hike could be a tough sell in 2010 because it's an election year.
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