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Switch to Minn. health care vouchers limited

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A plan to shift thousands of people from the state-subsidized health care coverage program to vouchers for private insurance isn't getting the traction that Minnesota officials planned on.

About 1,200 of the 4,200 people who lost their MinnesotaCare coverage are getting the vouchers, which is well below what the state's projections. Minnesota Human Services Assistant Commissioner Scott Leitz tells Minnesota Public Radio News that for some people the "upfront cost sharing" included in the voucher program could be a key obstacle. Private insurance carries deductibles.

The voucher system was a priority for Republicans when they took control of the Legislature in January 2011. They initially pushed to give vouchers to nearly everyone enrolled in MinnesotaCare, but that was scaled back in a budget deal with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.

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