Jane Philpott explains why money isn't everything

Canada's health minister wants to work with the provinces on better primary care.

Chris Wattie/Reuters

Chris Wattie/Reuters

Health Minister Jane Philpott hit the ground running last fall, tasked with some of the heavy-hitting on the Syrian refugee file. Now, she’s preparing to meet with the provincial and territorial health ministers Jan. 20-21, who are keen to see the Liberals send more money their way.

The Conservative government lowered the increases promised to the provinces for health care, guaranteeing a budget that would continue to grow but at a slower rate than the previous Liberal government had pledged. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on renegotiating the health accord, but the party hasn’t attached any numbers aside from promising $3 billion over four years to improve access to home care.

Philpott says an emphasis on better primary care can do a lot to improve access to health care without costing any money. She says the provinces and territories have already done some good work on cutting costs via the Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, something the federal government is likely to join. But Philpott isn’t keen to get into a discussion about funding. “There are some indications that we will try to not let the financial discussions get in the way of pretty serious health policy discussions that we need to have,” she told Maclean’s.

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