US spends more on public health care than Canada — CIHI

The Canadian Institute for Health Information has recently updated its National Health Expenditure Trends (1975-2010).

It’s the first time we are able to look at actual numbers for 2008.

Here’s some highlights that may surprise you:

The United States actually spends more than Canada on public health care as a percentage of the size of the economy. Canada spent 7.3 per cent of GDP on public health care, the U.S. 7.4 per cent. In other words, if the US adopted Canada’s model of health care, it is currently spending enough to cover all of its citizens. Canada is 10th out of 26 select countries in public health care spending. When private spending is included, Canada is ranked 6th out of 26.

Our current annual growth rate likely reflects the need to catch-up from the period of 1991 to 1996, when government restraint reduced the average annual growth rate to less than one percent. From 1996 to 2008 reinvestment in the health system took the annual growth rate to 3.6 per cent per year. From 1975 to 1991 annual growth was 2.6 per cent. All measurements are in constant 1997 dollars.

Is health care spending out of control? According to CIHI, the real rates of increase after adjusting for inflation are expected to be 1.6 per cent in 2009 and 1.4 per cent in 2010. In 2008 real growth was 3.3 per cent.

Ontario spends more on private health care than any other province. 32.6 cents of every health dollar is spent privately, compared to 22.1 cent in Newfoundland or 22.7 cents in Saskatchewan.

Hospitals continue to decline as a share of health expenditures. In the mid-1970s hospitals represented about 45 per cent of total health expenditure and 56 per cent of provincial expenditure. In 2008 Canadians spent 28.7% of total health expenditures on hospitals. It is expected to dip slightly to 28.6 per cent in 2009 and come back up to 28.9 per cent in 2010.

Total per capita health expenditures – public and private – in Canada was $5,154 in 2008. It is forecast to grow to $5,397 in 2009 and $5,614 in 2010.

More to come!

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