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BC Auditor General breaks down health care spending for British Columbians

The Office of the Auditor General released its second report on health care spending in BC today.

The province is pretty much at par when it comes to health spending per resident.

“BC spends an average of $4,050 per person on healthcare annually this is close to the Canadian average of $4,095 a significant portion of our province’s health care funding comes from the Canada Health Transfer,” says Auditor General Carol Bellringer.

That transfer comes from the federal government. BC received $4.5 billion out of a pot of $34 billion.

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In the 2015-16 fiscal year, BC spent $19.2 billion on healthcare. The Ministry of Health spent $17.4 billion of that total.

“The province’s six health authorities received $11.8 billion to deliver care to the people of British Columbia. Second, the Medical Services Plan got $4.2 billion and third, Pharmacare received $1.2 billion.”

Bellringer says the remaining $1.8 billion went to the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation and was mostly spent on reducing MSP premiums and providing dental and vision care for low income families.

While many areas within health care saw increased spending over previous years, Bellringer noted that spending on public health and wellness went down by 1%.

She says the purpose of this report is to provide accessible information on the complicated topic of health care spending. She says it was not triggered by concerns about the provincial government’s priorities around health spending but she did add a note of caution.

“Rising health care costs may threaten the provincial government’s ability to provide services and meet financial commitments both now and in the future. This is something we noticed two years ago in our report on monitoring British Columbia’s fiscal sustainability. Between 2013 and 2018, health care expenses are projected to increase by $2.7 billion. This is more than the combined budgets of the 11 smallest ministries or even the budget of the third largest ministry, education.”

This report is an update to the office’s 2013 information publication on healthcare spending in the province. You can view the full report here.

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