A bill that would create a mandatory statewide health insurance pool for Minnesota’s 200,000 school employees is one step closer to reality.
After a fiery, eight-hour debate, the House approved the measure on an 81-52 vote Thursday night.
Supporters say the pool will put school districts in a better position when negotiating health plans and help keep premium spikes under control. Opponents argue it would remove control from districts and cause some to experience jumps in insurance costs.
The bill made its way through the Senate in March. Now, the Democratic House and Senate need to come together to iron out differences in the proposed legislation before sending it to Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty. It’s unclear whether Pawlenty will sign the bill.
House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, said a mandatory pool would help both rural and urban school districts that are dealing with erratic premium increases.
“The status quo is not working,” he said. “Insurance is rising and rising. And I think a pool will help with the spikes that school districts are experiencing.”