House, Senate pass health exchange bill

ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland General Assembly has passed a measure to create a framework for a health insurance market place to provide coverage to the uninsured.

The House of Delegates and state Senate voted 94-44 and 35-12, respectively, for the bill Monday.

The measure builds on legislation passed last year to create the health care exchange, a mandate of federal health care reform. It sets up standards and regulations to run the program. Maryland has about 700,000 uninsured residents.

Democratic supporters say the state needs to be prepared to implement the law by the January 2014 deadline under federal law.

Republican critics of the measure say Maryland is moving too fast, because the law is being challenged in the Supreme Court. The high court began hearing arguments Monday.

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