The Carter administration provides a short but fraught lesson on the pitfalls of legislating on the emerging healthcare industry. Early in his administration, President Carter fashioned a plan of cost containment specifically for the healthcare industry. Dissension within the Democratic Party over how to sustainably move forward with both healthcare services and cost reductions significantly hindered Carter’s initiatives. In addition, the various healthcare lobbies had become very effective, with contacts in every congressional district and political action committees contributing to congressional campaigns. The strength of these lobbies and their differing opinions on healthcare legislation effectively stalled Carter’s efforts at cost containment and no major healthcare proposals were enacted during his administration. The development, purchase, and use of the sophisticated diagnostic technology also led to increases in the cost of medical care, as well as an increase in the number of malpractice suits and claims. The 1979 Iran hostage crisis provided the final nail in the Carter administration’s coffin as all actions taken by Congress and the administration were directed toward resolving the hostage crisis.
KeywordsPresident Carter Cost containment Technology Iran hostage crisis Standard of care
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