Senate approves health care reform bill

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -  

The Maryland Senate has passed a measure to further implement federal health care reform.
 
   The Senate voted 35-11 for the bill on Wednesday.
 
   It provides a funding stream for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, which is a new insurance market that will offer residents a choice of private health plans. 
 
   The measure also includes an expansion of Medicaid eligibility to 133 percent of the federal poverty line, compared to the current 124 percent.
 
   The House of Delegates passed its version of the bill earlier this week. Each chamber will have to pass the same bill to send it to Gov. Martin O'Malley.
 
   Maryland has an estimated 740,000 uninsured residents. The state estimates the total amount of uninsured would be cut in half by 2020 under the health care overhaul.
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