The health system is again in financial crisis with an injection of NIS 700 million needed for government hospitals to pay debts and in light of increasing public health expenditures.

The four insurers’ total deficits have risen to NIS 2 billion.

Israel Medical Association chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman said Sunday that the Health Ministry must take action to “raise significantly” the amount of financial resources available for public health services. In a letter to ministry director-general Prof. Ronni Gamzu, he voiced the IMA’s strong opposition to “the ministry’s plan to reduce national health costs” and demanded that it increase the investment in public healthcare.

Eidelman noted that per-capita public health expenditure (measured in purchasing power) in Israel is less than $2,300, while it is twice and even three times that in the advanced countries in Europe and the US.

“Instead of limiting [re]sources for the private system, the ministry must act to increase significantly public health expenditures,” the IMA chairman said, so the public system can compete with the private one.

Asked to comment, the ministry spokeswoman said that at the last meeting of the Israel Health Council, Dr. Tuvia Horev – the ministry’s economic adviser – discussed issues connected to the various health insurance systems.

“Unfortunately, Dr. Eidelman arrived late and apparently missed the part about the importance of strengthening the public health system and restricting private expenditures for health, by continuing to invest in the public system,” – and not by reducing national health expenditures, as Dr. Eidelman claimed in his letter

Only last week, Gamzu said in a newspaper interview that because of the huge deficits of the health funds, “everything is collapsing in front of our eyes” and warned that the public hospitals would “collapse” unless the Treasury allocates money to keep the insurers going. Gamzu charged that payments for salaries and suppliers to the public hospitals have been delayed because the health funds lack the money to cover their debts to the medical institutions.

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