By The Associated Press

Illinois keeps pace on Obama's health law

CHICAGO – Illinois is ahead of some states but behind others on the path toward a working health insurance exchange, a cornerstone of President Barack Obama's health care law.

Obama's home state plans to partner with the federal government to run a health insurance exchange in the first year, for coverage starting in 2014. State officials plan to submit a blueprint for that partnership to the federal government Friday.

An exchange is an online marketplace where consumers and small businesses can shop for health insurance.

So far, Gov. Pat Quinn has been unable to get Illinois lawmakers to pass legislation needed for the state to build its own exchange.

Looking ahead, Quinn adviser Michael Gelder says he's confident state lawmakers will pass the necessary legislation now that Obama has been re-elected.

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