The State Deficit's Impact on Healthcare

Budget Deficit
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"Right now Medicaid pays us about half of what the rest of our payors pay us."

And local hospitals could see that amount drop even more.

"When the government doesn't keep up with their costs, either "A," I don't buy as many things and find other ways to cut programs."

According to Sparrow Health Systems Chief Financial Officer, Chris Bergman, healthcare costs have continued to climb five to eight percent a year. But the government has not kept up with inflation, only contributing three to four percent more to Medicaid. That's a difference of up to five percent.

"It's a constant struggle for us. Every year we deal with dwindling resources in the government. So it's a matter of balancing."

And on any given day, 1,500 patients walk in and out of the doors of Sparrow Hospital, fourteen percent of which are on Medicaid.

"The traditional thing when government programs don't pay, don't cover costs of providing care, is that private insurers pay for it. The rest of the community pays for that with higher insurance rates."

Still the ramifications of the deficit on healthcare, if any, will not be fully known for a few more weeks.

"The care of those patients, they won't see a change when they show up to our hospital. They're going to be taken care of the same way as before."