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State lawmakers say much work remains but they expect action on health reform

ST. PAUL -- A trio of Minnesota legislators returned from Washington impressed with the enthusiasm of the state's congressional delegation about passing a healthcare reform bill.

At least Democrats were enthused. The Democratic legislators did not talk to congressional Republicans.

Rep. Tom Huntley of Duluth said lots of work remains on the measure, which has two versions in the Senate and three in the House.

"It is very much a work in progress."

Huntley, Sen. Linda Berglin of Minneapolis and Rep. Erin Murphy of St. Paul spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington lobbying congressional and White House leaders. Of concern was making sure a provision is in the eventual bill to make sure Minnesota's health care program, which is more extensive than in many states, is not hurt.

"No one out there wants to disrupt what is working in Minnesota," Berglin said.

She said all bills being considered would allow Minnesota programs such as the state-subsidized MinnesotaCare insurance service to continue.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.