Voluntary and regulatory efforts toward hospital cost-containment have accelerated with rapid increases in those costs and under pressures of national health insurance. Possible causes of hospital cost inflation are examined in the context of market analysis and with reference to the nature of hospitals as institutions facing special combinations of economic and political conditions and pressures. Some details of voluntary experiments and state regulatory efforts are examined in order to assess the elements of experience to date and their relationships to causes of hospital cost inflation. Federal proposals for a regulatory cap on costs are also discussed along with a view of how such proposals are related to probable causes of hospital cost inflation and of the relevance of other experience.

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