When the conversation turns to making Minnesota a business-friendly state, most conservatives rightfully think of cutting taxes and reducing small business’s regulatory burden. It’s time conservatives started thinking in terms of a well-educated workforce and health care reform as important to making Minnesota business-friendly, too.
I don’t mean to suggest that conservatives should adopt the DFL’s education policies and I certainly wouldn’t suggest that we adopt their health care ‘reforms’. I’m also not suggesting that conservatives don’t care about education policy or market-based health care reform.
Rather, I’m suggesting that conservatives put greater emphasis on, and communicate more frequently about, those issues. We’ve got alot of great ideas, especially on reforming health insurance and health care in Minnesota. We should be telling small business owners and families about those ideas whenever we’re presented with the opportunity.
There’s an old parable from the Bible that fits well here. It’s the parable of a person lighting a candle. The parable goes on to say that you don’t light a candle and put it under a bushel basket. Rather, we’re instructed to put the lit candle in a prominent spot where it will light the entire room.
That parable applies to us because we haven’t put our health care and education policies in the spotlight enough. It’s time we started highlighting those policies more consistently.
My adopted state representative Steve Gottwalt understands that. There isn’t a townhall meeting that I’ve attended where he hasn’t taken the time to tout the importance of applying conservative principles to developing education policy or health care reform.
I think it’s our responsibility to tout things like HSA’s, introducing competition into Minnesota’s health insurance industry, removing unproductive state mandates and offering custom-built insurance policies, also known as cafeteria-style plans.
Here’s how I’d sell custom-built insurance policies. I’d tell people that health care consumers should beg allowed to sit down with their primary care physicians and build a policy based on their needs. I’d also talk about how ill-advised state mandates add to the cost of insurance policies. I’d characterize those mandates as a hidden tax on small businesses and families.
If more people knew about all the things that state government does that drive up the cost of health insurance, they’d be furious. That visceral reaction is exactly what we’re looking for. When people react viscerally, that’s when people are taking things personally. That’s when they’re open to a reform message. It’s also the minute they start thinking for themselves instead of accepting groupthink, aka talking points.
Let’s understand that groupthink is what the DFL uses in putting together cookie-cutter policies. By comparison, conservatives are at their best when they’re challenging the status quo. We’re at our best when we’re asking ‘what if’ questions. That’s the only way we’ll stay the party of ideas.
It’s the only way that we’ll return to the majority. It’s time that we made the time to sell the ‘good product’ we’ve got.