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Seifert pushes job, healthcare reform during stop in Detroit Lakes

Using common sense to bring back jobs and reform healthcare in Minnesota was Republican gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert's theme as he traveled through Detroit Lakes on Thursday.

"We have a full day of activities in Becker County," Seifert, of Marshall, said that morning, listing media interviews, a steering committee meeting, a stop at the Becker County Fair and then a meet and greet that evening at Speak Easy.

"The main theme of our campaign is common sense. I think that's lacking in government," he said.

Job creation and healthcare are the two main issues he thinks need some common sense brought to them.

There is plenty of opportunity for job creation in Minnesota, he said, but the state government isn't letting it happen for one reason or another. For example, there is a mine waiting to open in northeastern Minnesota, but it has been waiting for permits from the state for four years.

"Businesses throw up their hands and leave," he said citing another example of a radiation clinic that was to build near the metro area but after a moratorium was set in place, the company moved to Wisconsin.

Which brings him to healthcare reform. With a few companies dominating the insurance world in Minnesota, like Blue Cross Blue Shield for example, he said there is a "semi-monopoly" of healthcare insurance providers in the state.

Having affordable healthcare for even the middle class is getting harder and harder, he said.

"The issue isn't quality, it's all about price."

Having Mayo Clinic and other top name healthcare facilities in the state, "to me, we need to focus like a laser beam on cost" and not worry about quality or availability.

Health insurance, he said, is not like car insurance where people can shop around for what's best. What's needed is an open market for people to compare, he added.

One of those things driving up costs is the overuse of emergency rooms. Seifert said that in visiting with healthcare providers in other cities, he's learned that 50 percent of visits to emergency rooms are not emergency-related.

One simple reform, he said, would be to allow the professionals to refer those not in need of emergency care to a clinic or urgent care facility.

"They're not throwing them on the street," he said, but saving in costs that the average person can't afford and therefore is charged through other costs to people using the clinics.

"It's eating up the budget. There needs to be something in how we spend the (money)."

Seifert said he's running for governor not because he dislikes the government, but rather he'd like to make some changes.

"It's not partisan or nastiness, but common sense. Let's work together," he said.

Seifert, who was once a high school teacher and now owns a property company, said he stands apart from his fellow candidates because he is refusing all donations from lobbyists.