Canada gets less for health spending than other nations: report


May 12, 2011


Postmedia News, Thu May 12 2011


Canada isn’t getting enough bang for its health-care buck, suggests a Conference Board of Canada report that compares health spending here to more than a dozen other nations. The report found that Canada’s health spending per person was the fourth highest of the countries assessed, but it ranked 10th in overall health performance. “Canada has relatively high overall spending and middle-of-the-pack health outcomes,” David Stewart-Patterson, the conference board’s vice-president of public policy, said Thursday in a statement released with the report. “Countries such as Australia and Sweden spend less than Canada per person, and generally get better results.”

The report looked at spending on health compared to gross domestic product levels for 2008, or for the most recent year for which data was available. The countries surveyed included Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Ireland, Australia, Norway, Finland and Japan. The report found that in 2008, 10 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product went to health spending. That’s the equivalent of $4,079 US per person, the report said.

Despite the money spent, Canadians ranked only seventh when it came to life expectancy. This country also had the second highest infant mortality rate among its peers. In a stark contrast, Japan, the country with the lowest level of health spending per person – estimated at $2,729 US – had the highest life expectancy and the second-lowest infant mortality. However, while the Canadian numbers weren’t great, the situation south of the border appeared worse. The United States was found to spend the most – more than $7,500 US per person in 2008. However, the U.S. had the worst results by far of any country assessed. It ranked last when it came to overall on population health. The States also had the lowest life expectancy and the worst infant mortality.


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