Controlling Health Costs

January 28, 1977

Report Outline
Turmoil Over U.S. Health Care Bills
Health Insurance and Public Policy
Action Toward National Insurance
Special Focus

Turmoil Over U.S. Health Care Bills

Concern About Nation's Future Ability to Pay

Last november a woman checked into New York University Medical Center to have a portion of her stomach removed. Three weeks later, while still recuperating in the hospital, she received a bill for hospital charges up to that time. The bill totaled $10,000. The surgeon's fee “for services rendered” came to $3,000. The anesthesiologist's bill was $700. Luckily, the woman was covered by Medicare insurance, for without it, her life savings could have been wiped out.

Stories like this are not uncommon in the United States any longer. For the cost of health care is spiraling. One night in a hospital can cost $200. Intensive care can cost over $300 a day. The cost of health care in the United States has risen far faster than prices in general. It has increased tenfold during the last 25 years, tripled during the last 10 years and almost doubled since 1970. The nation's medical spending bill approached $140-billion during fiscal year 1976 and is expected to exceed $150-billion in fiscal 1977. By 1980, it is projected to reach $223-billion.

The increased cost of medical care is portrayed in still other terms. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in compiling the nation's monthly Consumer Price Index, keeps tab on the cost of medical care items. According to its findings, the amount of medical care that $100 would have purchased in 1967 was costing $184.70 last year. That figure represents an overall average for doctor and dental fees, hospitalization, drugs and eye exams and eyeglasses. Hospital costs showed the biggest increase of all in that period; a semi-private room was nearly three times costlier than in 1967. And physicians' fees had nearly doubled.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Health Insurance
Oct. 23, 2020  The U.S. Health Insurance System
Oct. 18, 2019  Health Care Debates
Sep. 21, 2012  Assessing the New Health Care Law
Jun. 11, 2010  Health-Care Reform Updated
Aug. 28, 2009  Health-Care Reform
Mar. 30, 2007  Universal Coverage
Jun. 14, 2002  Covering the Uninsured
Apr. 16, 1999  Managing Managed Care
Apr. 12, 1996  Managed Care
Mar. 17, 1995  Primary Care
Nov. 23, 1990  Setting Limits on Medical Care
Oct. 14, 1988  The Failure to Contain Medical Costs
Aug. 10, 1984  Health Care: Pressure for Change
Apr. 08, 1983  Rising Cost of Health Care
Jan. 28, 1977  Controlling Health Costs
Aug. 09, 1974  Health Maintenance Organizations
Jun. 13, 1973  Health Care in Britain and America
Jan. 18, 1970  Future of Health Insurance
Jun. 20, 1962  Health Care Plans and Medical Practice
May 28, 1958  Health Insurance Costs
Feb. 17, 1954  Government Aid for Health Plans
Nov. 22, 1949  Compensation for Disability
Aug. 30, 1946  Public Medical Care
Jan. 25, 1944  Medical Insurance
Sep. 16, 1938  Health Insurance in Foreign Countries
Mar. 06, 1937  Toward Health Insurance
Jul. 09, 1934  Sickness Insurance and Group Hospitalization
Health Insurance and Managed Care
Insurance Industry
Medicaid and Medicare
Medicaid and Medicare