A proposal to establish a state-run health insurance exchange has passed the Senate with bipartisan support.
A federal health care law calls for exchanges to serve as a marketplace for the uninsured to shop for medical coverage.
The legislation creates an exchange governed by a 13-member board and operated by the New Mexico Health Insurance Alliance, a nonprofit corporation established in 1994.
The Senate approved the proposal on a 36-5 vote Monday, sending it to the House.
Supporters said the bill is necessary to meet deadlines for New Mexico to run the exchange rather than leave it to the federal government.
Opponents wanted the governing board to have more power to control what health plans would be offered through the exchange although federal law sets minimum standards for plans.