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.
This report reviews the economics of joint ventures by focusing on their implication for market competition. It also reviews the legislative history of mergers and joint ventures with special emphasis on aspects of the law that are directed at reducing market concentration.
This report discusses debate over reform of the Nation's financial structure in the 100th Congress includes re-examination of "the separation of banking and commerce." This separation was mandated by the Glass-Steagall Act (part of the Banking Act of 1933); and was carried forward into the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended in 1970 and thereafter. The resulting isolation of banking from securities was designed to (1) maintain the integrity of the banking system; (2) prevent self-dealing and other financial abuses; and (3) limit stock market speculation. By half a century later, the "wall" it created seemed to be crumbling, as bankers created new financial products resembling securities, and securities firms innovated new financial products resembling loans and deposits. The ongoing process of "financial deregulation" has evoked calls for Congress to give depository institutions new powers, especially in the securities field. Financial deregulation in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan has put additional pressure on Congress to re-examine this Act. Concerns over a seemingly fragile system of depository institutions persist, however, tending to place counter-pressure on Congress to maintain the Act.