Ark. House panel one vote shy on health overhaul bill

A House committee has voted down a bill that would have created a state insurance exchange as part of the federal healthcare overhaul, the Associated Press reports. The 20-member House Insurance and Commerce Committee on Friday voted 10-7 in favor of the bill. The measure needed 11 votes to pass.

Sponsoring Rep. Fred Allen told members that the bill would enable the state to retain a measure of control as the federal health package is put into place. Opponents said the state could wait until the fiscal session next year without harming the state’s chances. Backers said that a number of states that are suing to block the government’s health bill are creating their own insurance exchanges so they don’t cede control to the federal system.

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