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A bold plan to provide health insurance coverage for all Minnesotans through a government run program was advanced today by DFL legislators, who say they expect to wage a three or four year battle for such a system.

The proposed Minnesota Health Plan was touted as the most effective way to transfer savings resulting from lower insurance overhead and other costs to provide coverage for an estimated 400,000 uninsured Minnesotans.

The effort is being led largely by new House members, who say they are responding to numerous complaints about health insurance while campaigning in 2006.

"Health care was either number one or number two as a primary concern," said Rep. David Bly, DFL-Northfield.

The single-payer plan will compete with less dramatic proposals for health coverage reform during the upcoming legislative session. Some longtime DFL proponents of insurance overhaul favor universal health insurance that stops short of a single-payer system.

Brian McClung, a spokesman for Gov. Tim Pawlenty, said the governor "is opposed to government-run health care" and is working with a bi-partisan task force on other plans.

While critics of a single-payer plan say it could reduce patient choice and innovation, supporters of the Minnesota Health Plan say it would allow people to choose their own doctors and hospitals.