Understanding The Different Approaches To Reporting Australian Health Expenditure

By Ross Alexander (Research Hub), Pippa Kuhnel (AIHW), Kien Nguyen (AIHW) and David Skutenko (Research Hub)


This paper provides a comparison of the ABS' national accounts and estimates published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in Health expenditure Australia (HEA), and discusses the two frameworks used to compile those estimates. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the different nature and purpose of the respective estimates, and explain key conceptual differences between the two measures. The comparison shows how adjustments based on scope and conceptual differences can be made to national accounts estimates to improve their comparability with AIHW estimates. The paper also highlights the distinction between government transfers, where certain transfers need to be 'netted out' of the full economy, and final consumption expenditure. This distinction provides a key difference between HEA and national account estimates. The remainder of the paper explains the differences between the HEA and national accounts, including scope and statistical concepts derived from the use of different frameworks.

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