07 April 2010

Significant Digits – health care edition

In 1995, the provincial government spent slightly less than a billion dollars on health care. 

That was 26.4% of the provincial budget that year.

In 2010, a mere 15 years later, the provincial government is spending roughly 43% of the budget (not including capital works) on health care. 

That figure drops slightly – to 38% - if you add capital spending but that's only because of the disproportionate amount of spending on capital works not related to health care. 

In 2008, the provincial government spent 43% of the budget on health care.

That’s on par with spending in Quebec, for example, but the rate of change has been much greater in Newfoundland and Labrador than it has been in Quebec. Health care spending in Newfoundland and Labrador has doubled since 2003; in Quebec, health care spending grew 33% between 2003 and 2007.


It gets better.

With health care spending at about $2.7 billion, that works out to be the equivalent of 12% of the value of all goods and services produced in the province  - the gross domestic product or GDP - in 2009.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the Untied States spent 16% of its 2007 gross domestic product on health care.  That’s the most recent year for which the OECD supplies statistics online.

Canada as a whole spent 10% of its GDP on health care.  That was slightly behind Germany and around the same amount as Austria and France. But the majority of countries in the comparison of Europe and North America spent less than 10% of GDP on health care.

Just to be sure, in 1995, Newfoundland and Labrador spent about 10% of its GDP on health spending.  



Incidentally, those 1995 figures are from the Strategic Social Plan consultation paper.  It was supposed to have been released in early 1996 but circumstances prevented that from happening. Since copies are scarce – they were rounded up and shredded on orders from on high – your humble e-scribbler will scan his and start posting it very shortly.