The Illinois Senate has approved a measure that would create a state-governed "insurance exchange'' so individuals and small businesses can shop for health care coverage as required by President Obama's health law.
Lawmakers voted Thursday 37-19 to send the House a bill establishing the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace.
The exchange will guide people through the purchase of health and dental plans. It will also help qualified businesses enroll employees in health insurance plans.
The Affordable Care Act requires that nearly all Americans have health insurance beginning in 2014 or pay a penalty. New marketplaces are scheduled to be operating by October.
Illinois will begin an exchange this year through a federal partnership. Gov. Pat Quinn hopes to establish a state-run marketplace for 2015.
In east central Illinois, the vote was along party lines with 'no' votes from Sens. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), Dale Righter (R-Mattoon), and Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet). 'Yes' votes came from Sens. Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign) and Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).