Man lying in a hospital bed at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem [illustrative]..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Bank of Israel report on Wednesday elicited angry reactions from health-care and civil-rights organizations and politicians.
“The Bank of Israel compliments us, and the government cuts,” Maccabi Health Services director-general Ran Sa’ar said. “This is an erroneous policy that costs patients their health and in the end costs the state a great deal of money.”
The central bank’s report “shows how important and central community medicine is,” he said. “The health funds provide one of the highest levels of community clinic care in the world.
Nevertheless, the state decided to cut the health funds’ budgets, and this is a twisted policy. If the insurers received the budgets set down by the law, the health system would be much more advanced than it is today. The crowding in the hospitals would be lower because patients would get better and faster care near their home.”
Sa’ar called on the heads of all the political parties to make public health care a part of their campaign issues. “If we wait to improve for another two or five years, we will no longer get compliments, because the situation will decline,” he said.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Doctors for Human Rights and the Adva Center commented on the bank report as well.
“It reminds us what we knew well,” they said in a joint statement. “But the policy of drying up public medicine and causing it to decline hides behind hundreds of small decisions and thousands of avoidances of making decisions. The erosion in health budgets has reached 30 percent to 40% from what it would be if the basket of health services were automatically linked to its real costs.”
The gap between the basket and costs are partly rolled over to the citizens’ pocketbooks and cause privatization to deepen, the organizations said. Hospitals are forced to seek outside donations for their development, and this increases quality gaps among them, they said.
Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich said the report was “a mark of shame for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies. With his direction and inspiration, the health system has been eroded. As prime minister or as finance minister, Netanyahu has delivered blow after blow to public health. Anyone who needs health care personally feels this. This is not fate, but the work of Netanyahu.”