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ENEWS: Getting Healthcare Straight on MPR, Solar on the Range, Mediocre Infrastructure

Date Published: 10/19/2018

Author: Dane Smith

Setting Record Straight on “Medicare for All”

Growth & Justice Senior Fellow Dane Smith was featured on Minnesota Public Radio last week.  In an interview with Tim Pugmire, Smith set the record straight on recent campaign misrepresentations of our 2012 reports on the projected costs and benefits of a single public financing system for universal health care (also known as “single-payer’’ or “Medicare for All’’) in Minnesota.    GOP candidates have been distorting those studies  (“Beyond the Affordable Care Act” and a supplemental analysis  by the highly respected Lewin Group, a national health-care research group) by seizing on one aspect, namely, an estimate that public costs (premiums and taxes for the system)  would amount to some  $17 billion a year.   The campaign literature invariably omits the report’s bottom line and main finding:  by also eliminating premiums to corporate insurers, Minnesotans and their employers would cut their overall spending on health care by 10 percent and enjoy substantial benefits from universal preventive care and high-quality health coverage.  We will continue to set the record straight on health care options for Minnesota and to seek bipartisan support for policies that build a more equitable economy in Minnesota.  A  recent REUTERS/Ipsos poll reveals that about 70 percent of Americans (about 50 percent of Republican voters and more than 80 percent of Democrats)  already favor “Medicare for All” as a national policy.

A New Solar Factory on the Iron Range

For decades there has been agreement, among both opponents and proponents of mining, that northeastern Minnesota needs to diversify its economy and depend less on a single sector.   An outstanding recent example of progress on this front was described in a recent Minnesota Public Radio story about our nation’s newest solar factory.   From the MPR story:  “Minnesota alone is expected to account for more than half of all community solar development in the country this year, according to a recent report from the Solar Energy Industries Association.”  Despite obstacles to renewables imposed by President Trump, Minnesota is forging ahead with strong business support and even from a strong new conservative voice, the Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum.  (See quote of the week below from the MCEF’s Statement of Principles.

Minnesota’s Public  Infrastructure Graded a Mediocre ‘C’

Growth & Justice is partnering with experts in physical infrastructure on our One Minnesota Equity Blueprint, and we’ll be drawing data and recommendations from an important annual national report and state scorecard from the American Society of Civil Engineers.   Minnesota gets only a ‘C’ overall, signifying mediocre condition and requiring billions of dollars in upgrades and repairs in the next few years, and only slightly better than the nation’s overall grade of D+.    Recommendations include providing sustainable, long-term funding to modernize and maintain the state’s transportation network, as well as implementing robust asset management programs and more investment across the infrastructure categories. 


Host a Meeting and Join us in Hinckley!

Growth & Justice and our partner OneMn.org are assembling a comprehensive policy blueprint that will move Minnesota toward a more equitable and inclusive prosperity, and a more welcoming state.   We need your help!  Convene with those in your community (however you define community is up to you) to dive into a deeper conversation about equitable growth in Minnesota, and provide input for the Blueprint. Click here to sign up and host a community meeting and check out the Thriving by Design website for further information. Call or e-mail Sarah Leistico, Policy & Outreach Manager,  for guidance and more details.   (sarah@growthandjustice.org or 651-917-6037 ext. 4).  After community meetings wrap up, we'll be moving the Blueprint building to Grand Casino Hinckley Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe from December 10 to 11, learn more about the December Blueprint Convening here.  

Movin’ on Up!

Growth & Justice Open House on Oct. 30

Growth & Justice is on the move this fall, building a new public policy blueprint that will push our state toward a more equitable prosperity and climate action.  And we’ve literally moved too, to accommodate our expanding work and staff.  We invite you to learn more about our ambitious new initiatives on October 30, anytime from 4 to 8 p.m., at an Open House in our new offices.   We’ll provide refreshments, including wine and beer and light hors douevres.   You will meet new President Jane Leonard, honor the “semi-retired” Dane Smith (now our Senior Fellow and President Emeritus), and recognize the contributions of outgoing Board Chair, Kim Lowe.  We’ll put on a very brief program every half hour starting at 4:30, to catch you up with G & J’s audacious “Thriving by Design’’ project in partnership with OneMN.org and our plans to produce a “One Minnesota Equity Blueprint” for policy-makers and community leaders.   G & J’s new and larger office is one floor up from our old one, at 970 Raymond Ave, St. Paul 55114 – Suite 201.  Please RSVP via Eventbrite.  (And here’s a map

Quote:  “We believe that a diverse and increasingly renewable energy portfolio is the key to ensuring the supply of inexpensive and abundant energy…We believe that the more prosperous America has become, the more Americans demand clean as well as affordable energy…We believe that the renewable energy industry can, does, and will contribute to Minnesota’s economic growth. We also believe that it is in our economic interest to pursue the goal of leading the technological revolution in energy production.’’—From Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum’s Statement of Principles.

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