You know you’ve been blogging too long when…

…you wake up from sleep with a blog topic. Sheesh. I think that I may need therapy. But that’ll have to wait.

I wonder if we ever really looked at what we are paying for health care and if we did would it change our perspective on things?

So I went to the Province of NB web site. Found we are spending $1.81 billion on health care this year. Then I went to Stats Canada and found out there are about 285,000 households in New Brunswick. So the average tax spend on health care per household is now $6,360 (+/-). Then add in the $1,610 we spend per household privately on health care and the average household in New Brunswick spends just under $8,000/year on health care. Now to put that in perspective, NB households, on average, spend $6,060/year on food. We spend more on healthcare than all other expenditures except shelter and taxes.

Now, for those of you thinking that these numbers just don’t add up – remember that 40% of that public health care number is paid for by Albertans and Ontarioians so we don’t actually spend this money. They do. But if we actually raised enough tax dollars here that is the amout we would have to pay if we weren’t bailed out by Ontario and Alberta.

But it still makes you stop and think.

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0 Responses to You know you’ve been blogging too long when…

  1. Anonymous says:

    Again, your buying into that right wing economic fallacy that the west is ‘bailing us out’.

    First of all, let’s do a liitle more of that ‘interesting math’. New Brunswick gets 1.8 billion dollars a year in health and social transfers. Of course that also pays for other social programs but let’s pretend ALL that money goes just to health care.

    Let’s now say that the average Ontarian or Albertan pays 30,000 a year in all taxes. On a 60 to 80 grand salary thats not unrealistic, especially considering June is the ‘tax day’ when it’s assumed we’ve stopped working for the government.

    What this means is that it is ONLY 533 (well paid) canadians who are paying for New Brunswick’s health care.

    Now, figure out EXACTLY how many people graduate in New Brunswick that have no jobs here and have to go out west. I graduated with 100 people in a TOWN high school. So you have to figure that in an average year AT LEAST 5000 people are graduating. Clearly more than 10% leave New Brunswick, even pretending Lord is correct that 30,000 jobs were created that means 4300 jobs a year, of which a good percentage merely tackles the current unemployed, not new Graduates.

    So clearly if you look at how many New Brunswickers are living abroad, it is THEY who are paying New Brunswickers health care-and only a few of them. On the one hand this is perfectly fair as it was the NB school system, road system, health system (if they or a family member needed it-which they usually do as babies), sewage system, recreational system, etc., which did all the work RAISING them. These are CLEARLY the largest social costs in a persons life. The average adult spends little time in a hospital, no time in public education, and it is primarily property taxes which pay for their roads they use. Most of the health care and education that a working adult will recieve is privatized, they pay for it themselves.

    Second, it also figures in closely with something else we’ve always known, that those who go out west send money home NOW. They do this because the feds have been chopping away at money for these necessary costs. This can be seen simply by going to stats canada and looking at the number who claim ‘other income’, particularly in rural areas. In many places you’ll note that the number with other income far surpasses those with income from government sources, meanign that people can no longer rely on welfare and EI.

    So 533 is actually pretty conservative, and a good percentage of that will not be health at all but other social programs and so if you figure that, OK, they also pay into their new province’s health care system, it still pads up pretty accurately. So Ontarians and Albertans aren’t paying for New Brunswickers health care at all, the investment which New Brunswick made in RAISING these people who are now abroad is simply being reimbursed-and WITHOUT interest I might add.

    Keep in mind another factor which is that typically when people are done their working life they want to ‘go home’. If you look at NB stats this is also pretty clear as NB has a far older per capita population. In retirement housing costs are lower, these people save enough to buy a house and most expenses. The only thing they won’t hesitate on using is their new health care system.

    Were there mechanisms for NB to create and maintain its own industries and health, such as setting FEDERAL tax rates, taxing energy, setting up its own banking and insurance system, managing its own fisheries and regulating its own waters, rather than all these things benefitting Ontario, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation at all-those 533 New Brunswickers would have jobs HERE.

    It’s all a matter of how you look at it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    For those who think that there aren’t 533 New Brunswickers out in Canada with such high paying jobs (I’d almost guess there are at least 533 A YEAR) I’d remind people of another oft quoted statistic at this blog,which is that New Brunswick has a pretty good record of citizens attending post secondary education. Post ed has been clearly shown to be one of the main components of higher incomes.

    One more thing to keep in mind is how much of that health care system is DRUGS. Keep in mind that those studies could very well also include drugs which are PRIVATELY purchased, as a good percentage are. So if you only factor in the ‘subsidized’ drugs you might get a small lower number.

    Drugs have surpassed doctors salaries as well as hospital expenses (the latter should be checked, but I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere) as the largest single component of the health care system. And of course how much of that ‘industry’ is being controlled by big pharma, meaning that that number could be artificially high-meaning THE MARKET is dictating our health, NOT our actual health needs.

    For an example, Charles Leblanc has been a pain in Lord’s ass for some time, and HIS stated raison d’etre has simply been for the government to set up a committe to study ritalin use. Now, if you think of all those wasted committee’s then the fact that the government won’t even STUDY drug use, shows theres some REAL power brokers behind the scenes.

    So actually, in health care I’d say it’s New Brunswickers who have more of a reason to gripe at the rest of canada!