Hospital Impact has an interesting take on the top five challenges identified as major threats to U.S. hospitals. I'll leave the commentary up to Tony, with the exception of a point on medical malpractice. Tony writes:
The average malpractice settlement more than tripled from $95,000 in 1986 to $320,000 in 2002. (can't argue with this one either, though we have to remember that inflation alone would bring the $95k to ~$180k. and on the whole, what % of a hospital's budget is dedicated to malpractice insurance/risk management processes?)
Standard inflation adds a certain amount, but the vast majority of the increase you're seeing there is technology. Lifesaving advances are much much more expensive than they were in 1986, especially when you factor in scanning and imaging devices. If you need extensive surgery or medical care due to medical injury, that care is simply much more expensive now than it was twenty years ago.