The waning economy is another of the top three challenges facing the Emergency Medical Service (EMS).
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, (The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2010 to 2020) provides startling information “The Congressional Budget Office projects that if current laws and policies remained unchanged, the federal budget would show a deficit of $1.3 trillion for fiscal year 2010.” Identified further, “The budget picture remains daunting beyond this year, with deficits averaging about $600 billion annually from 2011 through 2020.” Finally the CBO finds, “As a result, interest payments on the debt are poised to skyrocket; the government’s spending on net interest will triple between 2010 and 2020, increasing from $207 billion to $723 billion”.
In his article, The U.S. economic crisis: Causes and Solutions, Fred Moseley observes the U.S. economy is currently experiencing its worst crisis since the Great Depression. (ISR Issue 64, March – April 2009). In a March 2010 story, reported by ABC News, a panel of leading economists, financiers and former federal regulators state:
“Even as many Americans still struggle to recover from the country’s worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, another crisis – one that will be even worse than the current one – is looming.”
As the economy staggers, local jurisdictions face serious challenges balancing their budgets with decreased revenues. Typically two options are available, raise taxes or decrease expenditures. In addition, health care professionals are aware; as citizens struggle to maintain economically, many turn to the EMS system as their primary health care provider. The increased call volume stresses an EMS system already facing serious budget cuts.