Health insurance a barrier to Minnesota’s innovation


Here at MN 2020 we are hard at work getting ready for the holidays. We just released our annual buy local report, and I have been calling around to local businesses and artists to see if we can feature their products in our gift guide. As I’ve been doing this my mind has been filled with jolly Christmas-like thoughts of hot chocolate, Christmas cookies, and warm things made with wool. We are highlighting these local entrepreneurs because they produce amazing items for all of us and they are a vital contribution to our local economy. There are a lot of incredibly talented people in this state and the products they make proves it.

While I was calling around I got to thinking about health care. Minnesota is lucky enough to have all these talented and daring entrepreneurs who help move our state forward. So my question naturally became; I wonder if these people have health insurance? After all, we have all heard about small business owners who struggle to find the money to offer their employees health insurance, or even pay the premium on their own insurance.

As you will be able to read once the report comes out, there can be great economic effects of buying locally and it is therefore in the interest of the state to have so many entrepreneurs. However, the current health care system holds back development and entrepreneurship if it forces people to stay in other employment to receive affordable health insurance, or otherwise keeps them from pursuing their “locally made” careers.

To quote someone much more eloquent than myself, President Obama recently said “What’s at stake is that most American of ideas – that this is a place where you can make it if you try; where you can be your own boss; where the only limits to what you can achieve are your smarts, your savvy, your dreams, your willingness to work hard; where you can pass on to your children a better life than you inherited.”

It has been argued that a “government take over” of our health care or even a government-run option goes against American values. Ms. Bachmann referred to the importance of freedom in her efforts to protest a health care overhaul this weekend. Now, I know that English is my second language and I am therefore more prone to misunderstand statements, but I was under the impression that a person is freer when he or she can pursue their dreams, when staying healthy does not mean economic ruin, and when one has the opportunity to choose one’s own life course.

But, like I said, sometimes my English is less than perfect and perhaps I just misunderstood the meaning of “freedom.”