A private member's bill to cancel all payments for Tipat Halav preventive medicine services, such as vaccinations of infants and children and monitoring of pregnant women and of children, was prepared for its first reading on Monday in the Knesset by the Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee.
The bill was initiated by MK Aryeh Eldad, a physician by training, who insisted it was wrong to demand NIS 175 a year from families for services the state should be interested in promoting.
The Health Ministry's deputy director-general for economics, Gabi Bin-Nun, said the ministry favors such a bill, but that it could not be implemented unless another source is found for the NIS 35 million a year that it would cost the ministry.
The health funds also welcomed it, but said they would have to be compensated by the government for the extra costs, as some Tipat Halav services are provided by the insurers. Reuven Kogan of the Finance Ministry's budgets division, said the government opposes the bill as preventive medicine services should be included in the basket of health services - however this would mean various medications would be eliminated from the basket to cover Tipat Halav.
Eldad insisted that every shekel spent on preventive medicine will save "hundreds and even thousands of shekels in future operations, doctor visits and work days. I am prepared for a gradual adoption of the amendment," he said.
Committee chairman MK Moshe Sharoni said it was "absurd" that families had to pay for such services, as they are free in most of the developed world.