The Treasury has retrospectively allocated an additional NIS 520 million to NIS 550m. to the country’s four public health funds to help reduce their growing deficits, but the chairman of the Knesset’s Labor, Welfare and Health Committee accused the Finance Ministry of “continuing to consciously erode” the amount of public funds for health services.

Chairman MK Haim Katz (Likud) said that the committee unanimously voted for the increase covering 2012 to 2014 as compensation for the hikes in medication prices. He said the Finance Ministry had initially promised to allocated NIS 220m., but that he had demanded more.

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“The health funds are expected to give the best service, but their deficits have led to longer queues and less willingness to prescribe drugs. Thanks to our intervention, the insurers received much more than they were supposed to get,” he said.

Clalit Health Services budget chief Hillel Deshen agreed with Katz and said “every penny counts, but the gaps are still large.”

Meretz MK Ilan Gilon said the move was only a temporary solution. “Again, the Treasury forces us to put out fires.”

Labor MK Michal Biran added, “We will continue to struggle. It’s unthinkable that the cost-of-hospitalization index is not included in the calculation of the costof- health index. A dramatic rise in per-diem hospitalization rates should be included in compensation for the health funds.”
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