For more than a decade, Congress and the Executive Branch have tried to stem spiraling health care costs through various regulatory actions at the Federal and State levels. Planning laws, for example, focus regulatory attention on the capacity of the health care industry to provide health services. Other laws have created programs to monitor and control the use of services provided to individual patients. Direct wage and price controls were applied to the health industry in the early 1970's and in recent years Congress has debated whether to impose controls over hospital spending in the United States. This report discusses the debate surrounding various approaches to lower health care costs.