June 02, 2016

Fraser Institute: Health Care in Alberta consumes 42% of budget, and growing under Notley NDP

Holly NicholasRebel Commentator

The Fraser Institute has released a report showing that average provincial costs for health care program spending have gone from 34.4% to 40.6% on average, between the years of 1998 to 2015 in Canada.

In Alberta, healthcare has increased 317% between those years and the difference between healthcare and non-healthcare growth in spending in the province is the greatest here at 118.2%. And we have the greatest difference in healthcare spending and GDP at 100.9%. Projections show that spending will grow another 6.3% per year on average from 2015 to 2030.

But there’s really no surprise – the Alberta NDP have increased health care spending even though spending under the Progressive Conservative’s was getting out of control. According to another report completed by the Fraser Institute, the PC’s wasted $49 billion on public sector contracts and pensions, double the rate of inflation. And now under the NDP, the healthcare budget accounts for 42% of spending, which accounts for $20.4 billion dollars. That amounts to $2.3 million an hour and $56 million a day. In fact, this is the first time Alberta will have to borrow money to cover the province’s operating costs.

Public sector jobs were up by 47,000 in December of 2015. The report from the Fraser Institute uses general inflation, health specific inflation, population growth and other factors to point out that the provincial budget for healthcare spending will increase to 47% by 2030. That’s almost 50% of the entire budget.

Throwing more money at the Alberta Healthcare system won’t improve it. Provinces like Saskatchewan are operating on 37.5% of their budget with wait times 7.6 weeks less than in Alberta.

Our government should have learned the lessons from keeping a bloated healthcare system in operation, but they continue making the same mistakes on the backs of Albertans presumably to make their union friends happy. It takes money away from potential savings and undermines tax relief for Albertans.

Cutting these kinds of costs is how Ralph Klein managed to get Alberta back on track despite low oil prices. It wasn’t a popular idea at the time, but it made the Alberta Advantage a reality.

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commented 2016-06-05 17:48:18 -0400
A great place to start with healthcare would be dealing with the enormous number of morons who call for ambulance service every day for nonsense. If you talk to any on car medical staff in this province you will quickly realize that they spend the majority of their shift dealing with garbage calls. Start criminally charging people who call 911 to have an ambulance attend because they need 3 stitches removed (for instance) and you will free up all sorts of cash and resources. Also people on aish shouldn’t be getting free rides either as they are horrible abusers of the system and essentially use it as a taxi service. Every 911 call costs the tax payer thousands of dollars that are not recovered through billing.
commented 2016-06-04 12:32:49 -0400
“Drew Wakariuk commented 1 day ago
Andrew you do realize there is a ceiling for percentage of spending don’t you? If it went up to 100% would you ask the same thing? We can only afford so much while still paying for other needs you know. "

Yes, this is a real concern. In fact, controlling healthcare costs is going to probably be the big story of the next 30 years or so, as demographics (ie, the aging of the massive Baby Boom generation) push up costs, with relatively fewer working age adults below to support it. At one point we had half a dozen working adults to support one senior, now it’s half that. How do we maintain affordable healthcare while still providing decent quality of care as the Boomers age? Something has to give. Privatization is already waved around but insurers are not interested in the very expensive cases either (clinics themselves are typically privately operated already).

Preventing the swelling of healthcare costs will either require raising taxes, or cutting service availability to the elderly (and/or setting them adrift and hoping they find private coverage). Which do you choose?
commented 2016-06-03 13:07:15 -0400
One trend that I’ve noticed in AB, is that Doctors who are open to new patients, want you to come in for an “orientation.” Basically this scam gets you in and then they send you for every test imaginable, whether you need it or not. Then they call you back in and give you the results, even when nothing shows up. In the old days, they only called you if something was wrong. I did this about 6-months ago, and then the Doctor moved to another clinic. The third move that she had made, or so I was told. I got a call from the clinic, and they told me that I’d have to go through another “orientation” in order to see another Doctor at that clinic. I told the receptionist to pound salt, and I went back to my Doctor that is about 30-miles away from where I now live. Since I am a taxpayer, and I’m paying for their keep, I’m not playing along with the scam to rip off the taxpayers!
commented 2016-06-03 11:48:50 -0400
Socialist governments offer lots of free stuff at first. Then they mismange things and they have to raise taxes. Eventually they take so much in taxes they effectively destroy the makers. Without the makers the system is not funded and they have to cut back on the free stuff. Socialism=Shared Misery.
commented 2016-06-03 10:44:18 -0400
Cut the paper pushers. There are many levels of redundant management which should be completely eliminated.
Allowing private clinics to open free of governmental direction, would make a huge difference to the load on the system. But they are too stubborn to do it.
commented 2016-06-03 03:15:09 -0400
There is something strange when we need to look at Sask for leadership.
commented 2016-06-03 00:58:04 -0400
there is so much waste in the system it is ridiculous.
commented 2016-06-03 00:56:46 -0400
Andrew you do realize there is a ceiling for percentage of spending don’t you? If it went up to 100% would you ask the same thing? We can only afford so much while still paying for other needs you know.
commented 2016-06-02 20:24:29 -0400
So here’s an idea that nutly would even go for, hire 500 union civil servants to study the problem. 1st order of business, decide if there’s enough civil servants studying the problem and how many more will be needed.
commented 2016-06-02 20:16:00 -0400
“The Fraser Institute has released a report showing that average provincial costs for health care program spending have gone from 34.4% to 40.6% on average, between the years of 1998 to 2015 in Canada " In Alberta, healthcare has increased 317% between those years "

Is there an apples to apples comparison here? This comparison, comparing proportion of budget to nominal dollars spent, seems deliberately alarmist (I find the Fraser Institute likes to toss about nominal dollars when they’re trying to make a point) Let’s see an actual comparison on equal terms and then we can worry about it. Calcullate 60% population growth (statsCan), about 40% inflation (BOC), Now, as you say, the other provinces have grown from 34.4 to 40.6, another 18%. 1.6*1.4*1.18= 265%.. So, in fact, Alberta does seem to have outgrown the national average (317 vs expected 265), but not by nearly as much as claimed.

How much of the difference is simply pork-barreling to hire doctors since the province has such a problem attracting enough of them to serve its population? How much of that is building and equipping new hospitals, which is far more expensive than maintaining existing ones (and, as Alberta has grown so fast, has disproportionately heavy capital costs to keep up with that growth?) Are there other mitigating factors at play?
commented 2016-06-02 19:45:21 -0400
It would be interesting to know how much of that $20.4 B spent on health care actually goes to health care. That is how much is actually spent on front line nurses, therapists, doctors, assistants, equipment as opposed to multiple levels of bureaucracy that do nothing tangible to improve health care.

I would bet less than half which is why, despite the greater spending in Alberta, it has a less effective health system than Saskatchewan.
commented 2016-06-02 19:29:05 -0400
To support what Lloyd said I have posted some research I did earlier when the NDP and their supporters were crying that the economic melt down had nothing to do with the NDP, but all because of oil prices.

Ralph Klein not only pull Alberta out of debt and left us in the black, but he left two government accounts, the Heritage Trust Fund and the Sustainability Fund totaling about 13 Billion at the time 2006 rolled around when Ralph was booted from party leader and Premier.

But Ralph also did this all the while the price of oil per barrel averaged $34.76 (converted to 2015 dollar value) and even unemployment rate went steadily down during his tenure.

Oil prices in relation to Premier of Alberta:
Ralph Klein (1993 – 2006)
Oil Price is adjusted for 2015 dollar value

Year | Price | Unemployment
1993 | $27.39 | %11.36
1994 | $24.94 | %10.74
1995 | $25.96 | %9.77
1996 | $30.78 | %9.21
1997 | $27.43 | %8.42
1998 | $17.26 | %7.89
1999 | $23.42 | %8.68
2000 | $37.54 | %7.79
2001 | $30.68 | %7.03
2002 | $29.92 | %8.02
2003 | $35.55 | %7.25
2004 | $47.04 | %6.5
2005 | $60.44 | %5.6
2006 | $68.27 | %5.06

Average $34.76/barrel


commented 2016-06-02 19:08:58 -0400
HOLLY you said a whole bunch there
I worked in Alberta when RALPH got everything back under a manageable control
Oh how the unions and their groupies went bizerk, all this when oil was low