Canada is expected to spend approximately $242 billion on health care this year, with spending growing by almost 4 % over last year.
Hospitals will continue to use the largest share of health care dollars in 2017, as they have for 20 years, accounting for 28.3 per cent of total spending.Medications will use up another 16.4 per cent, while physician services are close behind at 15.4 per cent of costs.
That $242 billion works out to about $6,604 per Canadian — $185 more per person than last year, reports the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), a not-for-profit organization that analyzes health care information in Canada.
For years, public health observers have worried the amount of money spent on health care has not kept pace with inflation and population growth.
CIHI says since 2010, the average annual increase on health care has been only 3.2 per cent. But that appears to be shifting, says Michael Hunt, the director of health spending and strategic initiatives at CIHI.
He adds, “Canada’s economy is improving and, as we have seen in the past, when there is more economic growth, more money is spent on health care.”
In 2017, $39.8 billion is expected to be spent on medications in Canada. Of that, $14.5 billion or 42.7 per cent — will be financed by the public sector.
The expenses will be covered by provincial/territorial programs ($12.4 billion); federal direct drug subsidy programs ($760 million); and social security funds ($1.3 billion).
The rest will be paid for privately, either through private health insurance, or out-of-pocket.
Canada spent $1,012 per person on medications in 2015. That’s much less than the United States, which spent $1,457 per person, but more than every other country in the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) except Switzerland.
Canada also spent significantly more than the OECD average of $709 per person.