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Health Care Legislation - Remarks at a News Briefing on the Administration's Proposals

April 25, 1977

Good morning, everybody.

This morning I have a statement to make about a message that I've just sent to Congress concerning health for the American people. This year in the United States we'll spend about $160 billion on health, which is about $700 for every man, woman, and child in our country.

Just to pay health bills for a family, the average wage-earner has to labor for an average of one full month. The cost of health care has increased 1,000 percent, way the last number of years, at an inflation rate roughly double the cost of other items in the American family budget.

Since 1950, for instance, the cost of health care has increased 1,000 percent, costing eight times more now than it did back in 1950. And unless we do something about it, the cost of health care will double again in the next 5 years, at an annual inflation rate that we are presently experiencing of about 15 percent per year.

I've sent to the Congress today, with the help of Secretary Joe Califano, a proposal for hospital cost containment which, through a carefully defined and a very fair formula, will put a limit on the increase in hospital costs. We anticipate that this proposal, if implemented by Congress, would save about $2 billion next year alone. Mr. Califano can explain the exact formula, but it would permit an increase in hospital costs within the next 12 months of about 9 percent.

Along with that proposal, we are also sending to the Congress a separate one involving a child health assessment program wherein early in a child's life adequate examinations will 'be given to the child to detect at a very early age presently existing or potential health problems, so that with a minimum expenditure of effort and funds and with a minimum adverse effect on the child's life, those potential problems might be corrected.

These two proposals go well together. And I don't believe that we are going to be able to solve our Nation's health problems and to have a comprehensive health program--which we will evolve--unless we have these two early proposals well on their way to control the runaway costs of hospital care and to deal in a preventive fashion with threats to the health of American citizens at an early age.

I'd like to introduce now for a question period, the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare--Joe Califano.

Note: The President spoke at 12:35 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.

On the same day, the White House Press Office released the transcript of the news briefing by Secretary Califano on the legislation.

Jimmy Carter, Health Care Legislation - Remarks at a News Briefing on the Administration's Proposals Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243639

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