Skip to main content

Health care funding falls, again

Real provincial government health care funding per-person has fallen again this year in Ontario, the third year in a row.  Since 2009 real funding per-person has fallen 2.6% -- $63 per person. 

provincial health care expenditures in Ontario and Canada

Across Canada real per person funding is in its fourth consecutive year of increase. Since 2009, real provincial funding across Canada is up $89 -- 3.6%.

In fact the funding gap between Ontario and Canada as a whole has gown consistently for years (as set out below in current dollars).

Ontario funds health care less than any other province -- indeed, the province that funds health care the second least (B.C.) provides $185 more per person per year, 4.7% more.  
2017 provincial health care per capita expenditures

Provincial health care spending in the rest of Canada (excluding Ontario) is now  $574 higher per person annually than in Ontario. 

Ontario versus the rest of Canada -- health care funding

 Ontario has not always provided lower than average health care funding increases-- but that has been the general pattern since 2005.
Private expenditures on health care have exceeded Ontario government increases for the last three years. Since 2011, private expenditures on health have increased 3.9% annually, while provincial expenditures increased 2.3% annually. 

private and provincial health care expenditures in Ontario

Starting in 2010, provincial government health care funding increases in Ontario began to fall, hitting just 1% in 2012.  Hospital funding increases continued downward in 2013 hitting just above 0% in 2013, recovering somewhat in 2014 and 2015.  Funding increases for doctors were quite a bit higher, despite the alleged attack on their incomes.  

Below is a chart with the provincial government per person dollar funding since 2008 in real dollars (using constant 1997 dollars). In 2017, real funding per person was still less than in 2008  -- although the Ontario economy is about 17% larger than it was in 2008. 

The hysteria from the right about runaway health care cost is just that -- hysteria.


Two-thirds of this dollar cut came from cuts to hospital funding.  Since 2010/11 real provincial hospital expenditures have been cut 8.3%.  
Declining real hospital expenditures 1991 through 2017
That is $81 per person per year in constant 1997 dollars, or $128 per person in today's money.

In fact real provincial expenditures on hospitals are lower than they were in 1991 -- despite an increase in the median age in Ontario from 33.3 years to 40.6 years and a doubling of the population over 65 (and even bigger increases in the population over 85). 

In 1991, Ontario spent more per-person on hospitals than Canadian provinces and territories as a whole, but now Ontario falls far behind. 
rComparison of hospital expenditres: Ontario and Canada 1991-2017
The provincial government has promised a 4.5%  health care funding increase for 2018/19.  That should result in at least a one-year real per-person funding increase for 2018.  But it is not enough to reverse the decline of recent years. Worse, the government also quietly notes that it will revert to a lower increase in 2019/20 -- once the provincial election is over.

The data for the charts above comes from the Canadian Institute for Health Information National Health Expenditure Trends 1975-2017 data tables with the relevant tables copied below:
  • , 
  • , 
  • ,   
See for all CIHI National Health Expenditure Trends 1975-2017 published data. 

Popular posts from this blog

Deficit? Public spending ain't the cause. Revenue, however...

With the election over, pressure to cut public programs has become quite intense. In almost all of the corporate owned media someone is barking on about it.

Another option -- increasing revenue from corporations and the wealthy is not mentioned.  However, data clearly indicates that Ontario does not have an overspending problem compared to the other provinces.

Instead, it indicates Ontario has very low revenue. 
Ontario has the lowest public spending of all the provinces on a per capita basis (see the chart from the 2014 Ontario Budget below).  So there is little reason to suspect that we have an over-spending problem.  If anything, this suggests we have an under-spending problem.

The Ontario government has also now reported in the 2014 Budget that Ontario has the lowest revenue per capita of any province.  This is particularly notable as other provinces are quite a bit poorer than Ontario and therefore have a much more limited ability to pay for public spending.  (Also notable in this…

Six more problems with Public Private Partnerships (P3s)

The Auditor General (AG) has again identified issues in her annual reportwhich reflect problems with Ontario health care capacity and privatization.   First, here are six key problems with the maintenance of the 16 privatized P3 ("public private partnership") hospitals in Ontario:
There are long-term ongoing disputes with privatized P3 contractors over the P3 agreements, including about what is covered by the P3  (or “AFP” as the government likes to call them) contract.The hospitals are required to pay higher than reasonable rates tothe P3 contractor for  maintenance work the contractor has deemed to be outside of the P3 contract. Hospitals are almost forced to use P3 contractors to do maintenance work the contractors deem outside of the P3 contract or face the prospect of transferring the risk associated with maintaining the related hospital assets from the private-sector company back to the hospitalP3 companies with poor perf…

Budget underwhelms on health care. Bait and Switch is such a nasty term

Last year the government promised a 4.64% health care funding increase in 2018/19. Then, earlier this month, they announced they would deficit spend to improve hospitals, mental health, home care, and child care.   Three of the four items cited by the government for improvement were part of health care. 

As it turned out the government did in fact promise in today's Budget to deficit spend $6.7 billion. (Due to a $1 billion fall in expected revenue, the extra spend amounts only to an extra $5.7 billion for 2018/19 programs – but that is still a significant chunk of new found cash for program spending.)  
If health care had gotten even a proportionate share of this new $5.7 billion in program spending, it would have added an additional $2.4 billion to health care  --  in other words about another 4% increase.  

But all health care got -- despite the government’s health care rhetoric -- was an extra $284 million. That may sound like a lot but with a total health care spend of $61 bill…