ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — In the gold gilded governor’s office, ordinary Minnesotans poured out their frustrations about health care to the governor himself.
Small business owners, like Sarah Piepenburg and her husband, told Gov. Tim Walz they cannot afford health insurance for their workers — or themselves.
“I don’t have insurance. I am one illness away from absolute financial disaster,” Sarah Piepenburg, owner of Vinaigrette Oil and Vinegar said.
Walz is proposing a public option he calls “OneCare,” which allows Minnesotans like Sarah to buy-in to the state’s individual marketplace, MNSure.
“The lost opportunity to live the life you want. That’s what freedom looks like,” Walz said.
OneCare could get start-up funding from a health care tax that pays for state health care programs and is about to expire.
Republicans say the tax is unnecessary, and OneCare is GovernmentCare.
“What happens when the private market is taken over by their government expansion of care?” Sen. Michelle Benson, Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee said.
“The one thing I would ask [is] not to make people’s health a bargaining chip,” Walz said.
But Mischief Toy Store owner Dan Marshall says the current health care system is failing him and his family, and he’s ready to try something new.
“Being in tears on the phone to somebody, trying to save the health and welfare of your family? That will radicalize you,” Marshall said.