Canadian health policy failures : what's wrong, who gets by Brett J. Skinner.

By Brett J. Skinner.

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Additional info for Canadian health policy failures : what's wrong, who gets hurt, and why nothing changes

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The only exception was the province of Alberta, which kept the pace of health spending growth just slightly below the growth of revenue over the trend period. The economic recession of 2008–2009 is expected to worsen this scenario, even for provinces like Alberta. Earlier research using government sources of data has shown that the longer-term experience is similar (Skinner, 2007b). Table 4 displays the nominal and real (inflation-adjusted) figures for national GDP and government health expenditures between 1975 and 2005, as well as the corresponding annual growth rates.

Furthermore, the study argued that provincial proposals for health policy reform, including a new progressive income-based surtax (misleadingly labeled a “health premium”), would not adequately address the difference between relative future growth rates for total revenues and public health care spending. It was calculated that Ontario’s new “health premium” tax would need to triple by 2008 and grow 10 times as large only a decade after its introduction in order to keep provincial revenues growing at the same pace as public health care spending.

This means that even if governments spent zero on drugs, government spending on all other medical goods and services were still rising at an unsustainable rate over this period. 19 CIHI data for drug expenditures accounts only for outpatient drugs. Drugs administered in hospital are counted under hospital expenditures and are not shown separately. However, most drugs administered in hospital are likely to be for anesthesia or to control pain and infection, which are almost always generic drugs.

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