In a first, Michael Osterholm, concerned about ‘the health of the state,’ endorses a candidate: Tom Horner

Michael Osterholm
Michael Osterholm

Tom Horner, the Independence Party candidate for governor, picked up an unusual endorsement this morning: Michael Osterholm, who has spent his public life warning people about various pandemics, epidemics, rotten eggs and other perils.

“These are serious times,” Osterholm said in a statement this morning endorsing Horner.

“I know people are accustomed to seeing me talking about serious health issues, such as the influenza pandemic. Today, I’ve come to endorse Tom Horner because the health of our state is at risk.”

Osterholm, who described himself as a political agnostic, said that the two pols he’s admired most are former DFL Gov. Rudy Perpich and former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson. But until this morning, he said he’d never endorsed a candidate.

“I look at this election not as being about a political party, but about the future,” he said.

Osterholm has served administrations of both parties in various health-related functions. His highest-profile positions were as state epidemiologist from 1984 to 1999 and as a special adviser to President George W. Bush’s Health and Human Services secretary,  Tommy Thompson, on issues related to bio-terrorism.

He currently holds a host of titles, including director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

By the way, in terms of the latest health scare, he says it’s OK to eat eggs if you fry ’em.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Paul Scott on 08/24/2010 - 01:33 pm.

    Ummm. Okaay. Did anyone ask Osterholm WHY he thought Horner was good for the health of the state?

  2. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 08/24/2010 - 03:50 pm.

    Michael Osterholm is a genius at public health, but by his own admission doesn’t know much about politics. I know a lot about politics, but not much about public health. My public health suggestion: Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.

    Thank you, thank you very much.

  3. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 08/24/2010 - 07:46 pm.

    Why does Mike Osterholm support Mr. Horner?

    A good question. I noticed the following statement made by Horner at the St. Thomas debate:

    “We’re fortunate in Minnesota that we have one of the finest research universities in the country. We need to strengthen it, we need to make it better, but we also need to fund it in specific areas,” Horner said. “We need to make research a separate line item in the state budget.”

    Mike Osterholm is currently a faculty member at the U of M and a strong supporter of research. Could this statement by Horner be the reason for his support?


    [I actually agree with Horner on this, but my position is a little complicated and I support Dayton as a better choice for governor.]

    Bill Gleason, U of M faculty and alum

  4. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 08/25/2010 - 01:04 pm.

    I hope Mr. Osterholm doesn’t believe that Tom Horner’s suggestions, good as they are and important as they are, will make Minnesota “healthy.”

    If he’s thinking in economic terms, Minnesota will end up spending more for health care without achieving access to decent care for all our residents under the new federal law (although its many improvements will be a huge help).

    In Massachusetts, the system adopted a few years ago is costing hundreds of millions of dollars per year more than anticipated, but still does not provide care to all its people. To avoid the excess costs built into both the MassPlan and the new federal plan, we must move beyond both.

    If we want a “healthy” Minnesota, the legislature must enact, and Governor Dayton eagerly sign, the Minnesota Health Plan developed by Senator John Marty that has 74 co-sponsors and is now moving through legislative committees.

    What would a “healthy” Minnesota look like then? Every resident could choose a doctor without being restricted to an “in network” list. Doctor and patient decide what is medically necessary and the plan pays for it. And, while costing less (formal study to be completed soon) will remove the private insurance bureaucracy that collects enough in premiums to pay for advertising, marketing, huge executive salaries and tons of paperwork.

    Each Minnesotan would have the peace of mind that comes from knowing no one can take away his or her health care, including preventive care, that is part of the Plan.

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