'A serious, adult discussion is called for'

Brian Mulroney considers the future of health care (among other matters).

On health care, for instance, we need to strike a better balance between the intrinsic value of universal coverage for basic medical service and the capacity of Canadians to pay the necessary taxes to support the system. The OECD, not exactly known for radical analyses, recently concluded that, because our health-care system is not sustainable in its current form, some form of user fees and greater scope for competition within the system will be necessary.

The current federal-provincial funding formula ends in 2014. A serious, adult discussion is called for and I believe a blue ribbon panel of medical and financial experts could provide a sensible framework for the debate and for the decisions needed. Not surprisingly, the fundamental assumptions on which Justice Emmet Hall based his recommendations for medicare almost 50 years ago have changed and we need to adapt accordingly.