Hospital costs were a huge political issue throughout the 1970s. Jimmy Carter unsuccessfully tried to pass price controls, but ultimately, the government settled on a system that paid a fixed reimbursement for a given class of problem, rather than just paying the hospital for however long they'd care to keep patient. (A system known as Diagnostic Related Groups, or DRGs). The length of hospital visits dropped like a stone--from an average of 7.5 days in 1980 to 4.8 today. Most of that change was accomplished by 1995.