Everyone should have access to high-quality, comprehensive healthcare.

Everyone should have health insurance, regardless of where and if they work, and everyone should have access to quality healthcare, regardless of where they live. Nobody should have to avoid the doctor’s office or hospital because they can’t afford it. Because of these beliefs, I support Senator John Marty’s Minnesota Health Plan, a single, statewide plan that would cover all Minnesotans for all their medical needs. Read more about Senator Marty’s plan here.

The widespread unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the dangers of tying health insurance to private employment, and made it clear that we are all only as healthy and safe as the least-insured members of our communities.

Though I am not required by law to do so, my business provides insurance coverage for our full-time staff. It is the single largest business cost that I incur outside of payroll. Each year, I meet with our insurance broker to find out how much the rates have increased, and I find that coverage continues to become more restrictive. The rising cost of healthcare is a problem for both employers and employees.

Further, hospitals and clinics are closing in rural areas all around Minnesota. Keeping rural clinics and hospitals open not only provides access to healthcare for rural communities, it also supports high-paying and reliable jobs in those areas. No woman should have to travel an hour to deliver her baby, and vulnerable patients should not be put at risk because of long travel distances to receive care. This is especially true in places like Minnesota, where bad weather may make long-distance travel impossible. My mom died from leukemia in 2018, and I remember a harrowing trip to get her to the hospital from her home in Pepin, Wisconsin during a spring blizzard. It was terrifying for me and risky for her. Increased travel time for healthcare is a problematic reality for many in rural areas that we need to fix.

I am firmly pro-choice and believe that each of us should be in control of our own healthcare decisions and our own bodies. I served on the Board of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota for three years, and as a mother I feel strongly that I should be in control of my body and my reproductive choices. As a college student, I received my first reproductive healthcare from Planned Parenthood, and I continue to support them today. Everyone should have access to birth control and abortion services, regardless of economic status. And each of us should control the size of our families without government input or control.

Prepared and paid for by Campaign of Ann Johnson Stewart, PO Box 46505, Plymouth, MN 55446