The Failure to Contain Medical Costs

October 14, 1988

Report Outline
Special Focus


Nearly everyone agrees that more should be done to hold down increases in health care costs. But can it be done without jeopardizing the quality of health care Americans have come to expect? Are we willing to cap physicians' fees or limit access to expensive procedures and life-saving devices? What are the alternatives?

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In some ways, the future of American medical care has never looked better. Doctors routinely perform surgery that was unthinkable just two decades ago. They diagnose illnesses with machines that were unimaginable until the advent of sophisticated computers. New, increasingly effective drugs have greatly increased their ability to treat acute and chronic conditions.

Just this week, the American Council on Science and Health, a consumer health organization in New York, issued an optimistic report about the state of Americans' health: “Life expectancy has reached new highs; infant mortality has plummeted; the overall death rate has declined precipitously. Heart-disease mortality—the leading cause of death—has dropped. Even death rates from most forms of cancer … are down except for lung and skin cancer.”

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