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It would be interesting to see this data adjusted for age in some way. Per capita is not quite right with this analysis as an aging population requires more health services.

If the cost is going down per capita while the population is aging we are either doing quite well or neglecting aging patients.

Benoit: I agree. The CIHI also reported that spending on "old seniors" was three times that of "young seniors."

Benoit: Just to fill out my previous comment more fully - the CIHI reports that provincial/territorial health spending per capita in 2011 was $26,336 for seniors aged 90 years + and $24,003 for those in the 85-89 category and $6,431 in the 65-69 age category.

There was a similar slowdown in all HC spending in the US. The consensus there is that it's almost all attributable to the recession. Given the politics of HC in this country, I find it hard to see any other reason for the slowdown here.

Benoit: It appears from the report that home care spending had a brief setback. In demographic terms, home care is our major institutional bulwark against the potential financial ruin caused by a huge expansion of inpatient long-term care. So if home care spending isn't growing, there likely isn't a lot of fundamental reform going on. Having said that, it's not clear from the definition used by CIHI that they're talking about what most people in healthcare would call home care (see here, p.42).

Livio: a tweak on spending is that some of the spending coded as "private insurance" is health care benefits paid to public sector workers and retirees. The PS is relatively small but has generous pay and very generous benefits compared to private. Public sector wages in 2012 were $16.5 billion (sadly, a terminated data series). If we estimate an additional 10% of that for employee health benefits (and not including retirees), that's $1.6 billion that's actually government. A drop in the bucket, relatively speaking, but it's worth noting that both CIHI and OECD code that as private.

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