Politics·CBC Forum

What's the best way forward for Canadian health care?

Health Minister Jane Philpott says she's working "every day" with her provincial counterparts on a long-term health accord. What's the best way forward for Canadian health care?

Health minister working with her provincial counterparts on a long-term plan

Minister of Health Jane Philpott responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Feb. 22, 2016. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Health Minister Jane Philpott says she's working "every day" with her provincial counterparts on a long-term health accord "that will include a number of initiatives, including a $3-billion investment in home care."

The last 10-year health accord, which included an annual six per cent increase in health transfers to the provinces, expired in 2014. The previous Conservative government refused to renegotiate it and unilaterally declared that the six per cent escalator would end in 2017.

Although they denounced the Conservative move and promised to negotiate a new accord with a long-term funding agreement, the Liberals did not specifically promise to reinstate the escalator.

And Philpott appeared to suggest Thursday that it's not in the cards.

At $36 billion, health transfers are already "the largest in Canadian history," she told the House of Commons.

As for not putting the promised $3 billion in additional home-care funding on the books yet, Philpott said later that the federal government first wants to strike an agreement with the provinces about how that money is to be spent "and what Canadians should expect to see as a result."

What is the best way forward for Canadian health care?

Readers let us know in today's CBC Forum — a live, hosted discussion about topics of national interest. Here's some of what they had to say.

(Please note that user names are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style. Click on the user name to see the comment in the blog format.)

"I do not think the system is broken. It continues to need to evolve and respond. Two-tiered systems would fix nothing. Emergent-care centres and more nurse practitioners would address many issues. People need more immediate access to health-care providers, but there are solutions." — Kadie

​"There is a serious palliative-care crisis on the horizon as the baby boomers retire. The only solution is a large increase in public funding." — Mic Mac

"We have to decide what we want and then fund it properly. And, yes, that may mean higher taxes. It will still be much cheaper than in the U.S." — EEWint

"Prevention is key. Developing healthy public policy and effective health-promotion resources is integral to lowering health-care costs. People need greater education surrounding their health and the factors that can affect their well- being. Having issues funding such things? Slap a greater tax on alcohol, cigarettes and junk food." — Andrew

"Health care needs to include basic dental and vision care. Doing so would prevent some of the more severe diseases and save money in the long run. This could easily be paid for if we stopped subsidies to the oil and gas industries and closed all the tax loopholes for the wealthy." — BC Coast

"If the federal government is funding healthcare, there needs to be more standardization of services rendered by the provinces. There is no reason why a person moving from province [to province] has to wait to get on a provincial medical plan." — Jonathan

"It is critical that the health-care system look into itself and rid itself of needless bureaucracy, which is costing the system huge dollars that can be better spent on actual care. It is obvious there is poor control of management and our tax dollars are not being used efficiently by politicians and administrators and thus we constantly have deficits." — RobbieCanuck

"I believe strongly in the two-tier system of health care … Those with insurance should be encouraged to 'bump ahead' in order to free up space for those who don't. We do have some insurance, not enough to make the kind of difference I reference, but those who have should be able get their treatments as needed." — CaperLeaf

​You can read the complete discussion below.

Can't see the forum? Click here.

With files from The Canadian Press