The approaching onslaught of over 70 million aging baby boomers could overwhelm the U.S. health care system and engulf the nation’s tenuous economy, according to a new study, “Will the Boom Bust Health Care?,” by management consulting firm Tefen USA.

Medical News Today reported that the study predicted some severe consequences:

-The problem of uninsured Americans will escalate, as employers seek to reduce the burden of retiree health care coverage, trim their contributions to health care premiums and, in some instances, eliminate the health care benefit entirely.

-Health care quality will suffer, with wide variation in treatments and big differences in death rates and surgical complications.

-Federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid will skyrocket, forcing politicians to raise taxes or severely curtail a wide range of other government programs.

-State budgets will suffer under the crush of soaring Medicaid costs, compromising support for education and other local initiatives.

-The nation as a whole will have fewer and fewer dollars to spend on education, environmental protection, scientific research and national security.

“Despite what many people think, the solution is not a single-payer system,” said Barry Calogero, president, Tefen USA, and author of the study. “While socialized medicine provides some advantages from an access standpoint, it does not address the underlying cost and quality issues that threaten the functional integrity of health care in the U.S. The real solution to America’s health care challenges requires three components: implementing tort reforms, mandating the use of best practices and driving systemic process improvement.” The Tefen study provides insights and details on each of these three solution elements.

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