Spending on health services in Australia as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) remains steady, confirming preliminary figures released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare earlier this year.
Health Expenditure Bulletin No. 14, released today by the AIHW, shows that Australia as a nation spent $43.2 billion, or 8.4%of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on health services during 1996-97. This proportion has remained the same since 1994-95 and was similar to levels recorded in 1992-93 and 1993-94.
The Bulletin's author, Mr Tony Hynes, said that health prices in Australia appeared to be under control.
'It is possible for health price increases to push health expenditure growth to unsustainable levels, but the 2.3% increase in overall health prices per year from 1989-90 to 1996-97 was lower than the general level of inflation of 2.7% over the same period,' he said.
According to the Bulletin, State and Territory Governments' outlays on public acute care hospitals was higher, as a proportion of total government outlays, in 1995-96 than in 1994-95.
'This is due to the State growth in funding of public hospitals being higher than growth in funding from privately insured patients and the Commonwealth government,' Mr Hynes said.
'Part of the change in the relative share of funding between the Commonwealth and the States occurred when the Department of Veterans' Affairs switched some of its funding for veterans from public to private hospitals.'
Other findings in the Bulletin include:
Note: Previous figures released by the AIHW in Australia's Health 1998 showed the health proportion of GDP for 1996-97 at 8.5%. Although the health expenditure estimate has not changed, the health proportion of GDP changed due to a revision of GDP estimates by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
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