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.
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
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.