Skip to Content

Taking pride in Minnesota's performance

Rep. Jay McNamar

Just days ago our federal government was shut down and we were headed for a default on our national finances. Other than frustration, the emotion that this problem brought out in me was pride. Not pride in how Washington operates, but pride in how Minnesota operates in comparison.

Take, for example, the new health-care exchanges. Each new day brings more news about various problems the federal health-care marketplace is having. The marketplace made in Minnesota, MNsure, is off and running. By the middle of October, more than 12,000 accounts were created and nearly 4,000 people were already enrolled in new plans.

That’s only after two weeks. We still have several months before people face any kind of deadline to sign up. Part of the reason enrollment is already so high is because the website is working better than the one in Washington. But the plans offered here, some as low as $106 a month for our area, are also much more affordable. Overall, the Minnesota marketplace is just a much better product.

Unemployment is lower

When it comes to unemployment, the national rate isn’t even close to Minnesota's. Even after improving from 7.9 percent earlier this year to 7.2 percent now, the national unemployment rate is still way higher than our state rate of 5.1 percent. 

That kind of economic performance has helped us pay back $636 million owed to Minnesota schools. So on top of lowering unemployment and gaining back all jobs lost during the recession, we’ve now also paid back all the money borrowed from schools two years ago. 

A new 'Made in Minnesota' tool

When it comes down to it, our strong economy comes from the businesses that support our communities. And now, Minnesota has a new tool to help strengthen those businesses even more. Just this past week, the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) unveiled a new “Made in Minnesota” directory on its website that helps businesses in the state find suppliers and vendors right here in Minnesota. It helps support our state economy by putting Minnesota companies first. 

That’s good, because we all know that anything made in Minnesota is going to be much better than the alternative.

Rep. Jay McNamar, from Elbow Lake, represents District 12A in West Central Minnesota in the Minnesota House of Representatives. 

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you're interested in joining the discussion, add your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a letter or a longer-form Community Voices commentary. (For more information about Community Voices, email Susan Albright at salbright@minnpost.com.)

Get MinnPost's top stories in your inbox

Related Tags:

Comments (4)

Obamacare enrollees

The numbers of enrolled is of no interest unless there is a breakdown between those who absolutely need medical care regularly and consequently will pay far less than their medical needs and enrolled of the healthy whose monthly premiums will go towards the care of those who need care.

I would bet that few people from the "healthy" population of society have signed up for insurance.

Healthcare

Ray, you just made a heck of a good case for universal health care. And for that I thank you.

The "young immortals" have always felt health insurance...

...premiums were a waste of money. The ACA isn't going to change that.

The question is whether the penalties will cure a naturally low enrollment by the healthy. I am doubtful. But if the penalties were ratcheted up to say, the level of penalty for not insuring your car then MAYBE a sufficient compliance could be expected. (But in Minnesota, there is a fine of $200-$1000, but this fine can recur if you don't comply; and even then, estimates are that 10%=20% of cars on the road in MN carry no insurance. So even 80% compliance is not easy to get.),

The ACA's initial penalties are so low, they will effectively keep the "young immortals" out of the plan. "In 2014, the fine to remain uninsured is $95 per person (up to a family maximum of $285, or 1 percent of family income, whichever is greater)." http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/DC-Decoder/2013/1001/Obamacare-101-What-to-...

For anyone who is healthy and having even the slightest difficulty economically, this will undoubtedly defer their participation.

Now, "...the penalty will increase more than sevenfold in the next two years, with the fine running as much as $695 per person by 2016. The family maximum would be as high as $2,085 (or 2.5 percent of family income, whichever is greater)." But that is way too late.

The low early penalty would seem to doom the plan to the wrong mix of enrollees right from the start.

The key features of the ACA are badly needed, but even as proponents, we've got to admit it: it was poorly designed and does indeed need some drastic changes.

Obama handed the entire design over to the political mud-wrestlers and shysters in the House and Senate, where they proceeded to create a many-headed monster - something for everyone, everybody gets a trinket.

Worse, the Democrats in the House, in particular, iced out the Republicans so they had virtually nothing to say about the new law. The Republicans howled mightily about this at the time, but the Democrats just gave them the finger and an insult to boot. This is one of the reasons the Republicans are implacable enemies of Obamacare now - it's not only because of Obama, but also the way they were treated in the House. What goes around, comes around.

Minnesota pride

As a third generation Minnesotan recently moved to California, my friend out here have become tired of hearing me praise my native state -- so much so that I have agreed to refrain. Yet, I am a Minnesotan at heart, and for good reason(s). Minnesota is a hidden gem in the world of business with something like 20 Fortune 500 companies in the state. Despite losses in recent years we remain tops or high in education, health care, worker training and effectiveness, and certainly in innovation. And I recall with great fondness years of camp as a child...having my own lake home in later years...and 25 years of visits to the amazing (and under appreciated) Boundry Waters.

Where you are born is the luck of the draw. I was a winner...because I was born and raised in beautiful Minnesota