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David Durenberger


David Durenberger served as senior U.S. Senator from Minnesota from 1978 to 1995. He was elected to succeed Hubert and Muriel Humphrey and was the first Minnesota Republican ever elected to three terms in the Senate. Senator Durenberger’s health policy experience extends over three decades.

Senator Durenberger began his lifelong commitment to public policy reform as Chief of Staff to Governor Harold LeVander of Minnesota in 1966, when Medicare, Medicaid, and the Great Society’s myriad of categorical health, welfare, and social programs were being launched in Washington.

In 1978 David Durenberger was elected to the U.S. Senate. In 1980 he became chair of the Health Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee and was catapulted into the leadership role in national health reform. He authored and co-authored most Medicare/Medicaid, health insurance, and other health reform legislation from 1980 until President Clinton’s Health Security Act in 1993, including the original Health Insurance Reform Act, which eventually became Kassebaum-Kennedy in 1996 and the Medicare Choice reform, which was part of the Balanced Budget Act, passed in 1995 and vetoed by President Clinton.

During his Senate career, David Durenberger chaired the Intergovernmental Relations Subcommittee, led President Reagan’s New Federalism effort in 1982, was a 14-year member of the Advisory Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, and served as Vice Chair of the Pepper Commission in 1989-1990.

Senator Durenberger was also a member of HHS Secretary Otis Bowen’s Medicare Catastrophic Committee, the Congressional Bio Ethics Committee, the National Infant Mortality Commission, and the Congressional Advisory Committee to the Office of Technology Assessment.

Senator Durenberger is the Senior Health Policy Fellow at Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas, and chair of the National Institute of Health Policy. He authored Prescription for Change, a book on healthcare reform through consumer choice, and is an accomplished speaker on the subject.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.