Ontario health-care spending not keeping pace with aging population: FAO
Fiscal watchdog says $6.9B increase in spending over next 3 years not enough
Ontario's fiscal watchdog says the province's health-care spending is not keeping pace with the demands of a growing and aging population — a situation that could result in compromised quality of care in the future if left unaddressed.
In a report released today, the Financial Accountability Office says that even with an additional $6.9 billion of planned health spending over the next three years, the province is not keeping up.
The FAO says the drivers of annual health-sector spending — the aging and growing population, and inflation — will grow by an average of 4.3 per cent annually, which eclipses the province's 2.9 per cent spending on existing programs.
The report also says not all of the $6.9 billion announced last year is being allocated to enhancing existing care —$1.2 billion is being spent on one-time pension plan adjustments for workers, and another $1.2 billion is dedicated to the government's OHIP+ pharmacare plan to provide free medication to those under 25 years of age.
In 2012, the province tried to slow health spending by imposing a four-year freeze on hospital funding, increasing hospital efficiency and by restraining wage growth in the sector.
Today's report echoes similar findings the FAO made a year ago, when it stressed that the province was facing significant budget pressure because of increasing health care costs.