Deputy Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman announced in the Knesset Tuesday that starting in January, NIS 60 million of the money for expanding the basket of health services will go toward free dental treatment for children up to the age of six.
But while this will probably please parents, Kadima MK Rahel Adatto reacted with anger, saying that reducing the NIS 220m. addition by this sum would cause harm to people waiting for lifesaving and life-improving drugs that would not be added to the basket.
Adatto, a gynecologist and lawyer, said that for eight years she had been a member of the public committee that recommended what medical technologies to add to the basket, which is supplied by the health funds to relevant members.
"So I know that when NIS 60 million is cut from the basket, lives will be affected," she said.
She added that Litzman, who at a Hebrew University-Hadassah Dental School conference in Jerusalem a few months ago had promised he would carry out this reform, could not carry out such a change at the expense of the basket, which is meant for the entire population. This is "age discrimination," she said, "and it is illegal."
Reform in dental care "is welcome and important," Adatto said, "but it must not come from the basket, which belongs to all residents and not to the Treasury or to a minister or deputy minister."
Several of the health funds offer subsidized dental care for children if their parents hold supplementary health insurance policies; between 55 percent and 88% of residents bear such policies.