IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Health Care Expenditures, Public Administration and the Business Cycle


  • François Béland
  • Co-director Solidage


Claims of the unsustainability of Medicare abound and have been fuelled by the consequences of the 2008-09 economic recession. The looming question for Canadian public health care services is "How will public administrations in Canada sustain their health care expenditures during the next few years, given the pressure from debt recovery and the new federal payment transfer for health care?” To examine these issues, variations from 1989 to 2009 in Canadian public administration health care expenditures (HCE) are compared with variations in GDP, in public administration revenue, their expenditures on items other than health care, transfer payments for health from the federal government to provinces, and debt charges. Since the turn of the millennium, Canadian public administrations have increased HCE in constant dollars in context of: 1) decreasing share of public revenue and expenditures in terms of GDP; 2) constant share (70%), since 1996, of expenditures for items other than health care on total expenditures ; 3) parallel trends, with a 3 year lag, for GDP and expenditures for services covered by Medicare; 4) constant share of total HCE in terms of public administration total revenues from 2003 to 2007; 5) constant share of federal transfers for health on provincial public administration expenditures for total health care and for Medicare; and 6) reverse trends for share of HCE and debt charges. Given this context, the rhetoric of apocalyptic share of HCE on public administration budget is having a boost, while increases in this share has more to do with the factors included in the denominator rather than with those in the numerator.

Suggested Citation

  • François Béland & Co-director Solidage, 2012. "Health Care Expenditures, Public Administration and the Business Cycle," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 297, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:297

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Claude Montmarquette & Virginie Giroux & Joanne Castonguay, 2005. "Pour un financement durable de la santé au Québec," CIRANO Burgundy Reports 2005rb-08, CIRANO.
    2. Di Matteo, Livio, 2000. "The determinants of the public-private mix in Canadian health care expenditures: 1975-1996," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 87-112, June.
    3. repec:clh:resear:v:2:y:2009:i:2 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Livio Di Matteo, 2010. "The sustainability of public health expenditures: evidence from the Canadian federation," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 11(6), pages 569-584, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Healthcare expenditures; public administration; sustainability; federal transfers; debt charges;

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:297. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.