Despite being delivered in dull bureaucratic speak - the media release was headlined, “Continued slow growth in health spending” - the latest report on health costs by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) contains valuable information.
One key finding is that individual spending is the stand-out area of non-government sector expenditure.
The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.
Focused on the 2013–14 year, the report shows spending on health rose by 3.1 per cent from the previous year, to total around $154.6 billion. Growth in expenditure per person was $6,639, some $94 more in real terms than in 2012–13.
Measured against Australia’s GDP, the expenditure rose to 9.8 per cent, up by 0.2 per cent from the previous year. This represented about one-quarter of the nation’s taxation revenue.
Despite generally falling throughout the decade, the non-government sector share of total expenditure increased from 30.0 per cent in 2011–12 to 32.2 per cent in 2013–14.
According to AIHW spokesperson Dr Adrian Webster, “Non-government funding increased more than any other source, up by 5.0 per cent in real terms since 2012–13.”
“Over the decade, funding by individuals was the fastest growing type of non-government funding, growing by an average of 6.2 per cent a year in real terms, compared with 5.3 per cent for all non-government sources,” Dr Webster said.
The report also examined longer-term trends in health spending.
“Over the second half of the decade, the Australian Government's share of total health spending fell from 43.8 per cent in 2008–09 to 41.2 per cent in 2013–14, while the state and territory and local government share has remained fairly stable since 2009–10, at around 26.6 per cent (the value seen in 2013–14),” Dr Webster said.