More than $130 billion spent on health in 2010–11

Over $130 billion was spent on health in 2010–11, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Health expenditure Australia 2010–11, estimates that spending on health was about $130.3 billion in 2010–11, up from $122.5 billion in 2009–10 (after adjusting for inflation). 

'While total health expenditure has risen, health expenditure as a proportion of Australia's gross domestic product (GDP) dropped slightly compared to the previous year,' said AIHW Director and CEO David Kalisch.

In 2010–11, health expenditure as a percentage of GDP was 9.3%, compared to 9.4% in 2009–10.

'In recent years, the ratio of health expenditure to GDP has risen—however this was largely the result of a slowing in GDP growth following the global financial crisis, rather than extraordinary health expenditure growth.'

'This situation now appears to have stabilised somewhat', Mr Kalisch said.

It appears that growth in health expenditure has largely been driven by increases in the volume of health goods and services purchased, rather than the price of services.

'This increase in volume is more related to population growth than additional expenditure per person', Mr Kalisch said.

'Growth in per person health expenditure was slower than growth in total health expenditure.'

In 2010–11, the estimated average level of recurrent expenditure on health was $5,796 per person.

The largest component of the increase in expenditure in 2010–11 was a $2.2 billion rise in spending on public hospitals, followed by spending on medications, which grew by $2.1 billion.

Almost 70% of total health expenditure during 2010–11 was funded by governments, with the Australian Government contributing 42.7%, and state and territory governments contributing 26.4%. The remaining 30.9% was funded by individuals, private health insurers, and other non-government sources.

The Australian Government's share of public hospital funding was 40.3% in 2010–11. State and territory governments' share of public hospital expenditure was 49.5% in 2010–11, down from 50.5% in 2009–10 but up compared to 2000–01 (47.2%).

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.

Canberra, 26 September 2012

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