The current health care debate reminds me of one of the most important lessons I have learned from being a business owner and entrepreneur in southeastern Minnesota - always take the time to thoroughly think through all options before making important decisions and always consider the long-term effects of the decisions being made.

Americans have the best doctors, the best nurses, the best scientists, the best hospitals and clinics, and the most innovative medical technology in the world. Now our challenge and opportunity are to make these facilities available to all Americans at the lowest market price. There is no doubt our country needs to lower health care costs, but reforms must be thought out; we cannot afford to rush changes through.

Families and health care providers working with more efficient record-keeping systems are the key to real reform, not lawyers and bureaucrats. To empower families, we must make insurance more affordable and more secure, and give employees the option of owning coverage that is not tied to their job and that will be tax deductible. Patients should not have to worry about losing their insurance; rather insurance companies should have to worry about losing their customers. Real reform is about improving access to health care providers, control over care, and affordability of that care.

Health care reform is a critical issue facing the American people, and a one-party, partisan solution could be devastating to our country. It's time for our politicians to put party politics aside, drop the egos, and start listening to and representing their constituents. We have a real opportunity to improve our health care system, and make it the best in the world but we need to work together, thoughtfully, thinking through all options, or we could make our present system much worse.

What are your thoughts?

Jeremy R. Miller

Candidate for Senate District 31

Winona