Unrestrained costs lead to deficit crisis, HFMA chair warns

The chair of the Healthcare Finance Management Association's (HFMA) board provided some dire predictions for 2012 and beyond during the organization's virtual conference last week if spending is not moderated.

Gregory Adams, who also serves as senior vice president and a partner with Panacea Healthcare Solutions, warned that not reining in healthcare costs would have severe consequences at both the state and federal levels. "It's not an exaggeration that healthcare spending will drive the federal budget deficit to a crisis point," Adams said.

Among the factors: an aging and relatively unhealthy Baby Boomer population and the end of stimulus funding for state Medicaid programs.

As a result, Adams noted that Medicare spending will increase 70 percent over the next decade, while many state Medicaid programs will be forced to enroll more recipients into managed care programs. Meanwhile, ongoing weak economic growth is not expected to provide revenues to pay for the programs.

"Congress needs to act by constraining spending," Adams said, adding that lawmakers cannot run away from such goals for political reasons.

To learn more:
- visit the HFMA virtual conference site