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Minister Abeysinghe claims a healthy increase in health budgets

17 Oct 2019 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      





In the above statement, State Minister of Transport & Civil Aviation provides statistics to claim that there has been a large increase in the present government’s budget commitment to free healthcare, and that it is as a proportion of state revenue. 

The minister is correct in his numbers for the amounts allocated in the Ministry of Health (MoH) budget in the years he refers (see Exhibit 1). The 10% of revenue that the minister cites ambiguously as “health expenditure” is more than what is expended by MoH alone (8.6% in 2018) but less than what the Central Bank calculates as overall health expenditure (including by provincial councils), which is 11.3% of revenue in 2018. 

Additionally, FactCheck subjected the claim to a more rigorous evaluation against (i) actual expenditure instead of the budget allocation that the minister cites; and (ii) the real (inflation-adjusted) increase in expenditure instead of the nominal increase he cites.

(i) Allocated expenditure vs. actual expenditure: In 2015, 2016 and 2018 the actual expenditure was lower by 7.4%, 21.5%, and 6.4%, than the MoH budget allocation which the Minister cites; whereas in 2010 the actual expenditure was marginally higher.

(ii) Nominal increase vs. real increase: The real (inflation-adjusted) increase in actual 2018 expenditure is two times the expenditure in 2010. 

Even after subjecting the claim to this evaluation, it is noted that the actual expenditure on health, not just allocation, and not just by the MoH, doubled in real terms from 2010 to 2018. This supports the overall thrust of the minister’s claim.

Therefore, we classify the minister’s statement as TRUE.

FactCheck is a platform run by Verité Research. For more fact checks, visit our website at www.factcheck.lk.  

Exhibit 1: Government health-related expenditure (referenced years)