Opening Statement by James Hedlund, Acting Deputy Director Council on Wage and Price Stability at the Council’s Public Hearing on Health Care Costs

by James Hedlund on October 21, 1976
by James Hedlund

Good Morning: Welcome to the hearings on Health Care Costs of the Council on Wage and Price Stability.

Rising health care costs are a vital public policy issue facing our nation today. A first series of public hearings on this subject was held during the summer i11 New York, Chicago and San
Francisco. Due to the avid response and wealth of information gathered, the Council has d2cided to hold three more hearings: one was held in Philadelphia last week today in
Houston and Miami on October 28.

The Council, which is part of the Executive Office of the President, is made up of key cabinet members and other administration officials. From its inception, the Council has placed a high priority on health care costs. Accordingly, the Council has been monitoring prices in the health industry for their inflationary impact. The review of rising health care costs and the conduct of these hearings is executed in accordance with the Council’s statutory mandate. Created by Congress in 1974, the Council has the responsibility to monitor and analyze inflationary activities in both the private and public sectors of the economy. It has the authority to collect financial and economic data from industrial and governmental groups, as well as to conduct public hearings “to provide for public scrutiny of inflationary problems in various sectors of the economy.” The Council issues public statements of it.s findings and can
request a delay or reductibn in an inflationary price or wage increase or government regulation. However, the Council has no legislative authority to impose mandatory controls on prices or wages nor to prevent or delay any Federal agency action.

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