Health spending in Canada forecast to hit $242 billion this year, says report

Health spending in Canada is expected to reach $6,604 per capita this year, or about $200 more per person compared to last year, according to a report released Tuesday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

It forecasts total health spending for the year to increase almost four per cent to $242 billion and equal 11.5 per cent of Canada's gross domestic product, similar to last year.

The Institute says the growth rate is slightly higher than the annual average of 3.2 per cent that has been recorded since 2010.

The report says total health spending per person is expected to vary across the country, from $7,378 in Newfoundland and Labrador and $7,329 in Alberta to $6,367 in Ontario and $6,321 in British Columbia.

Hospitals, at 28.3 per cent, are expected to eat up use the largest share of health dollars in 2017 as they have since 1997, followed by drugs at 16.4 per cent and physician services at 15.4 per cent.

Drug spending is expected to grow the fastest, reaching an estimated 5.2 per cent this year. Physician spending growth is forecast to grow 4.4 per cent and spending on hospitals is estimated to grow by 2.9 per cent.