Good health and wellbeing is important – it influences not just how a person feels, but has impacts for society as a whole. The availability and quality of health and welfare programs are central to delivering these outcomes, but difficult to evaluate. Information about expenditure on health and welfare gives an indication of the priority placed on these goods and services among all others in the economy. In Australia, more is spent on health and welfare, both in dollar terms and as a proportion of spending overall, than any other type of expenditure.
The Australian, state and territory and local governments share funding responsibility for health and welfare services.
The AIHW collects, analyses and publishes estimates of expenditure on health and welfare. We also focus on the cost of health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the cost of diseases.
This work involves being aware not only of the overall level of expenditure, but also of the societal, political and economic pressures that influence the way funding is provided and used. Expenditure is analysed in terms of who provides the services, who funds them and what types of services are funded.
Important issues to consider when analysing and reporting on health and welfare expenditure include:
- Which services are expanding the most rapidly and which are contracting in terms of funding?
- Who funds these services?
- How does expenditure by the Australian Government compare with that of state, territory and local governments?
- What are the respective roles of the government and private sectors in funding these services?
- How much do individuals pay, from their own pockets, for health care? How much is funded by health insurance?
- How does expenditure compare between states and territories?
Musculoskeletal disorders are responsible for more health spending than any other group of conditions ($14.6 billion)
Cardiovascular diseases ($12.7 billion) and cancer and other neoplasms ($12.1 billion) ranked 2nd and 3rd highest
Total health expenditure was $220.9 billion, equating to $8,617 per person or 10.7% of total economic activity
The proportion of health spending funded by Individuals continued to decline in 2020–21
Australians have been receiving more MBS funded services per person over time
The proportion of fees subsidised through the MBS declined over recent months - after 15 years of relative stability