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A Century of Saints

Richard Teske speaks on Health Care policy, 1985


One of the biggest political debates over the past few years (and likely the next few as well) is over the role of the federal government should play in health care. The passage of the Affordable Care Act brought this subject to the forefront of public conversation, but it's a topic that's been discussed in this country for many, many years.

St. Scholastica participated in this discussion in September 1985 when Richard Teske, Associate Administrator for External Affair in the Healthcare FInancing Administration, spoke as part of the Warner Lecture series. Mr. Teske is a graduate of UMD, served as assistant to Senator David Durenburger (R-MN). 

Kathy LaTour of the HIM department introduces Mr. Teske. Enjoy!

Mr. Teske goes through a list of problems with the structure of our health care system that haven't changed today: our population is aging, meaning more people need health care; medical technology is expensive; expanded coverage; and a reimbursement system that incentivises use instead of conservation. The solutions he points to are also familiar. All in all, it's a great discussion of health care policy.

Mr. Teske's discussion of health care spending and its effect on the budget deficit is particularly relevant today. At one point, he says Medicare will be out of money by 1998 and we'll be $1 trillion in the red by 2010. Now it's projected that Medicare will be out of money 2024, the same 13 years down the road that was projected in Mr. Teske's 1985. Interesting, isn't it? There is often criticism that solutions only "kick the can down the road" instead of solving the problem for future generations. What's ignored in these criticisms is the fact that as long as we keep kicking that can, the crisis will never occur.


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